Giving Livestock Grazing a Chance – A Success Story of Goats’ Role in Vegetation Management Project, Laguna Beach California USA

Simbiotic and Sustainable Ecosystem Management

I have been always emphasizing giving livestock grazing a chance to heal our ecosystems back to the sustainable, healthy, and protected status. I strongly believe that Nature created animals (millennia of evolution) to perform a role, yes a role – “to serve the Ecosystems”.

We all are the actors/players of the ecosystems, including fauna and flora, microorganisms, and nonliving things like water, winds, landscapes, etc. We as a team of players can keep our ecosystems in a good state of health and functionality. An ecosystem is livable but if it slowers or statics in functionality, life becomes difficult and unhealthy leading to the sickness of Mother Earth. When we pull back the role of a player (like grazing of livestock in some ecosystems), the functionality of the others is affected negatively.

My friend Christina Adams, the author of an interesting book ‘CAMEL CRAZY’ shares the story of a goat project supporting my philosophy ‘GIVING THE LIVESTOCK A CHANCE TO HEAL OUR ECOSYSTEMS‘, grazing in Laguna Beach, California USA. I really appreciate the role of Christina Adams in advocating the natural and extensive livestock production systems all over the world. She has traveled a lot and met the livestock keepers in different corners of the world.

Each year, Peruvian goats visit Laguna Beach to eat away the fuel source for any potential fire. They do a fantastic job too, mowing the canyon hills bare one section at a time. Walk along the fire access roads between MOULTON MEADOWS and TOP OF THE WORLD Parks and you might see the goats hard at work.

The Importance of Livestock Grazing has Started Realization

The importance of livestock grazing has been realized more than before as there are many fire incidents in 2020 and this year 2021, the number of fire incidents is incredibly more than before. In the link below you can read some of the losses mentioned from the fire in California, which are heart-wrenching. We can see the sky-touching flames on television screens in Turkey, Canada, the USA, Russia, and some southern European countries. The residents in Athens are warned to stay indoors as the air quality is too bad because of the smoke of fires. In most of the cases, the fires erupted in the regions where livestock grazing was restricted and the piled-up dry grasses and bushes worked as petrol bombs. Therefore, I appeal again and again to please allow livestock grazing in the regions where it was restricted. The ecosystems are not for (poorly defined beauty) tourist attractions but a functional mechanism of Mother Earth to sustain health and productivity.

Christina Adams says “I enjoy seeing pastoral animals and a herder here in a town only one hour south of Los Angeles. It reminds me of how important pastoral people are even that close to a major world city“. Christina Adams often climbs the paths in the hills of Laguna Beach and sees the goatherd in his trailer because he stays near the flock. They are In different parts of Laguna and he moves his trailer home with them.

The goat grazing in the region and consuming the grasses and bushes. Grazing cuts the connection between the ground flora and the trees’ shoots. Photo credit: Christina Adams.

She says that “Children love seeing the goats. They don’t see livestock often here so it’s a treat for them and all of us. This way the project makes a strong connection between the goats and human beings.


Livestock is not a problem but a solution. We should reconsider its role and realized its importance in ecosystem services. We should advocate the ecosystem service of the livestock and be aware the people about the role of livestock other than food production. Livestock grazing not only minimise the risk of fire hazards but also enrich soil fertility and revitalize the ecosystems.

Got Milk? Dairy found essential to prehistoric development in Africa–new research

This month’s publication of a scientific article on new evidence of livestock herding in prehistoric Africa is stirring interest. ScienceDaily, for example, reports the following: Chemical analysis of pottery reveals first dairying in Saharan Africa nearly 7,000 years ago, 20 Jun 2012.

‘The first unequivocal evidence that humans in prehistoric Saharan Africa used cattle for their milk nearly 7,000 years ago is described in research by an international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, UK, published June 20 in Nature.

‘By analysing fatty acids extracted from unglazed pottery excavated from an archaeological site in Libya, the researchers showed that dairy fats were processed in the vessels. This first identification of dairying practices in the African continent, by prehistoric Saharan herders, can be reliably dated to the fifth millennium BC.

‘Around 10,000 years ago the Sahara Desert was a wetter, greener place; early hunter-gatherer people in the area lived a semi-sedentary life, utilising pottery, hunting wild game and collecting wild cereals. Then, around 7,000–5,000 years ago as the region became more arid, the people adopted a more nomadic, pastoral way of life, as the presence of cattle bones in cave deposits and river camps suggests.

‘Domesticated animals were clearly significant to these people: the engraved and painted rock art found widely across the region includes many vivid representations of animals, particularly cattle. However, no direct proof that these cattle were milked existed—until now. . . .

This confirms for the first time the early presence of domesticated cattle in the region and the importance of milk to its prehistoric pastoral people.

‘Julie Dunne, a PhD student in Bristol’s School of Chemistry and one of the authors of the paper said: “We already know how important dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter, which can be repeatedly extracted from an animal throughout its lifetime, were to the people of Neolithic Europe, so it’s exciting to find proof that they were also significant in the lives of the prehistoric people of Africa.

‘”As well as identifying the early adoption of dairying practices in Saharan Africa, these results also provide a background for our understanding of the evolution of the lactase persistence gene which seems to have arisen once prehistoric people started consuming milk products. . . .”‘

That dairying has a prehistoric tradition in Africa will come as no surprise to Olivier Hanotte and his colleagues working at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) (Hanotte is now at the University of Nottingham), who in 2002 published a paper providing evidence of the domestication of cattle in Africa: African pastoralism: Genetic imprints of origins and migrations, Science: 12 April 2002, Vol 296. Hanotte and his colleagues say that their evidence indicates that ‘the earliest cattle originated within the African continent’:

Cattle pastoralism is widespread in Africa today and still forms the basis of life for millions across the continent. Two hypotheses for the origins of African domesticated cattle are currently debated. The North African subspecies of wild cattle or aurochs Bos primigenius . . . may have undergone an indigenous African domestication around 10,000 years ago, possibly in the northeast of the continent . . . . However, the archaeological evidence is disputed and the molecular data are not conclusive . . . . Alternatively, domesticated cattle could have been introduced into Africa from the Near East where cattle domestication is known to have occurred . . . . Domesticated within the continent but genetically influenced by the centers of cattle domestication in the Near East and the Indus Valley, the modern African cattle breeds represent a unique genetic resource at a juncture when there is an urgent need to improve livestock productivity for the benefit of the present and future human generations.’

Andrew Oh-Willeke, an attorney in Denver, Colorado, who blogs at Dispatches from Turtle Island, further comments on the recent prehistoric dairy paper as follows.

‘New research confirms an emerging consensus about when and where herding domesticated animals began to replace hunting and gathering in Africa (an activity that included the use of pottery and the collection of wild grains), and expands our understanding of how that herding society worked.

‘It happened in North Africa (including many places that are now too arid for this activity) and the Nile Valley after similar developments in the Middle East, but at about the same time that herding emerges in Europe. It happened before the main African origin crops were domesticated, and not long after the domestication in Egypt of the donkey. It appears to have involved both dairying and the use of cattle for meat from the start, or from very close to the start of a herding mode of food production.’

Subscribers to Nature may read the paper discussed, First dairying in green Saharan Africa in the fifth millennium BC, by Julie Dunne, Richard P Evershed, Mélanie Salque, Lucy Cramp, Silvia Bruni, Kathleen Ryan, Stefano Biagetti and Savino di Lernia, in Nature, 2012; 486 (7403): 390 DOI: 10.1038/nature11186

The post on Dispatches from Turtle Island Blog goes on to say the following about this paper.

‘The abstract of the paper notes that: “In the prehistoric green Sahara of Holocene North Africa—in contrast to the Neolithic of Europe and Eurasia—a reliance on cattle, sheep and goats emerged as a stable and widespread way of life, long before the first evidence for domesticated plants or settled village farming communities.”

‘Notably, the find comes from the central Saharan highlands, not the Mediterranean coast or what is currently the African Sahel. The find comes not from the “wet Sahara” period itself, but from the period when the Sahara was becoming increasingly arid. There is an implication on the narrative from the press release journalism at ScienceDaily quoted above, that pastoralism may have not had much of an advantage over hunting and gathering until an increasingly arid climate in the Sahara tipped the scales in favor of pastoralism. . . .

‘This date is older by more than a thousand years than the oldest reliably dated Central Saharan find of cattle bones. . . .’

The same blog comments elsewhere on the domestication of cattle as well as the domestication and cultivation of sorghum, enset and pearl millet in Africa.

Morak Goat Breed of the Chaghai Kharan Desert

Habitat: Chaghai Kharan desert especially Raskoh mountains of the region is the home track of the breed. The breed is very close to its wild ancestors. There are many tribes, rearing this breed of goat, which are Badeni, Muhammad Hasani, Maingul, Jamaldini, Sasoli, Sanjrai, Nothezi, Nausherwani, Malangzai, Siafad, Faqirzai, Hajizai,.

Phenotypic characteristics: The goat has medium size with black body coat, very rare specimen with white color is also found. The long curled horns, especially in the male with beard are the salient feature of the breed. The goat also produces reasonable amount of milk.

Vegetation: Vegetation of the area liked by the goat is comprising of Ghaz (Tamarix Articula), shrub as Taghaz (Haloxylon Amodendron), bushes like Hashwarg (Rhozya Stricta), Pog (Calegnum Polygonaides) Cotor (Stockcia Brohinca), Lara (Salsola Kali), Kandar (Alhogi Camelarum), Barshonk, Karwankush, Narronk (Salsola Arbuscula), Tusso (Gaillaina Aucheri) and grasses like Mughair (Atriplex Dimprphostegium), Kash (Sacchorum Siliare), Righith (Suoeda Monica) Shanaluk (Allium Rubellum). etc.The Ice Cream Species of Plants for the Camel and Goat. Part 1Part 2. Ice Cream Species of Plants for the Camel and Goat

Population: Population of the breed is almost 0.5 million. The population trend is increasing. Morak breed is one of the badly affected goat breeds in the province by the previous drought (1998-2003), as the drought was very severe in this ecological zone.Effects of Drought on Livestock Sector in Balochistan Province of Pakistan

Special Traits:

  • Close to its wild ancestors
  • It is very accessible to inaccessible areas for grazing, i.e. the peaks of the mountains
  • The animal is very alert and fast running, hence can’t be eaten by pest and predators. More close to wild ancestors
  • High milk production in harsh environment of the region in a very low input system of the ordinary grazing

Option Hopes: Close relation to its wild ancestors.

Morak goat of Kharan Washuk region

Economic importance: The most important breed for livelihood earning of the pastoral livestock keepers of the region. It provide milk in the harsh environment when the sheep milk yield ceased. It also provides cash by selling it, when the livestock keepers need cash money. The animal may attain good weight and attract good prices because of its more meat and height.

Kohi-Suleimani Goat Breed

Habitat: Musakhail, and other mountainous area of Suleiman mountains region. There are many tribes, rearing this breed of goat. The tribes are Bugti, Marri, Syed, Kethran, Hasni, Kakar, Mandokhail, Pani, Buzdar, Qaisrani, and other Pashtoon and Baloch tribes.

Phenotypic characteristics: The goat has large size with black or white head, red neck and red head is also preferred. The animal may attain good weight and attract good prices because of its meat and height.

Vegetation: Vegetation of the area like by the goat is Acacia modesta, Caragana ambigua, Bararr, Gurgulla, Sarwane, Showan, Ghalmi, Lani, Jand, Zizyphus, Halooxylon grifithi, Halloxlon recurvum etc.

Population: Population of the breed is almost 1.5 million. The breed is also found in the tribal territory of Punjab province, reared by Baloch tribes. The population trend is increasing.

Traits special:

  • The goat of this breed is highly resistant to drought
  • It is very accessible to inaccessible areas for grazing
  • The animal is very alert and fast running, hence can’t be eaten by pest and predators. More close to wild ancestors
  • High milk production than local sheep and provide milk in summer for family needs

Option Hopes: Kohe-Suleimani goat is more effective tool against drought because it reaches to difficult area for grazing.

Economic importance: The animal may attain good weight and attract good prices because of its more meat and height. The male kids are mainly raised for market sale. The breed has very high economic returns by selling male animals at the age of 2year, mainly slaughter at EidulAdha occasion. The female produce reasonable amount of milk and use by the pastoral community locally and extra milk is converted in ghee.

Berberi Goat Breed

Habitat: Kachhi basin is the home tract of the breed. The area has very high ambient temperature which may reach up to 52 °C.  The tribes of the region, in the north there are Pani and Kakar Pashtoon tribes and in the south is Rind, Lehri, Somro, Bugti, Mari, Khoso, Jamali, Jatoi and Resai.

Phenotypic characteristics: The goat is smaller in size with multi coat colors. The breed is multicolored, i.e. white with black patches, white, red, yellow and others, but the preferred color is white, because of the resistance to high temperature. The goat has high prolificacy rate and produce reasonable amount of milk to feed her offspring.

Vegetation: Vegetation of the area like by the goat is Acacia, Dalbergia, Zizyphis, Presepis Juliflora, Panicum antidetals, Halexylon spp and Alhagae camalorum.

Population: Population of the breed is almost 0.8 million. The breed is also found in the in the adjoining areas of Sindh province, reared by Baloch tribes. The population trend is increasing.

Traits special:

v  The goat of this breed is highly resistant to high temperature

v  High prolificacy rate and good mothering ability

v  The animal is very alert and fast running like a deer, hence can’t be preyed by pest and predators. More close to wild ancestors

v  One of the fast growing goats in the province

Option Hopes: Tolerance to high ambient temperature.

Economic importance: Because of the fast growing ability and high prolificacy, the breed can be use for mutton production in the hostile climatic conditions of the region. The male bucks of age more than one year already gained very high prices in the major livestock market of Sindh province especially, at the occasion of Eid Aladha. The beauty of this breed, looking like a deer also attract consumer at the occasion of Eid Aldha.