Global warming and regeneration of grasslands: they are linked!
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Throughout the world areas with irregular precipitation are desertifying as a result of poor grazing practices. This contributes to global warming by releasing C02, while impoverishing pastoral communities and reducing biodiversity. Regenerative grazing reverses this desertification and, if applied globally, would remove billions of tons of C02 from the atmosphere and sequester them in the soil in the form of organic matter. This is an indispensable contribution to the fight against global warming.
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The savannas of the Masai Mara in Kenya are often degraded making it an excellent region in which to kickstart our sustainable development movement using regenerative grazing:
The often highly degraded savannas of the Masai Mara, coupled with its fairly dependable rainfall and the mild climate resulting from the above 1500 m elevation offer the perspective of measurable results within months of adopting regenerative grazing practices.
The Maasai often graze their herds separately and freely in the unprotected areas of the region. As a result, grass often belongs to the first person to graze it and the savanna never has time to recover. It becomes exhausted and desertifies.
The Maasai we met have shown openness to the adoption of alternative grazing methods if those can better the health of the savannas upon which they and their livestock depends. A shift towards sustainable regenerative grazing practices will require the transmission of knowhow.
In the Mara many Maasai also depend on tourism which depends in turn on a healthy savanna: without it there are fewer charismatic herbivores (elephants, gnus, zebras, antelopes…), no carnivores (lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas) and consequently fewer tourists.
We’ll use the results obtained in the Mara to inspire other pastoralists and enlarge the movement
But what is regenerative grazing?
What will the Mara Grassroot Movement bring?
The Mara Grassroots Movement will bring the technical and pedagogical knowhow to foster the necessary changes in pastoral practices. This approach will then be widened to other regions to fight global warming on a greater scale.
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We have multiple priorities, all interdependent and in link with the pillars of sustainable development. We present them below:
1 - Global warming
To fight global warming it is not only necessary to reduce our C02 emissions, it is also necessary to remove the CO2 we have already emitted from the atmosphere (the legacy load). Savanna plants, through photosynthesis, capture this C02 and sequester it in the soil. We must ensure that all soils be 100% covered by vegetation at all time.
In the savannas plants have a primordial role to play in the fight against global warming
2 - plants
In the savannas of the Mara it is mostly grasses and forbs that can protect the soils. Unfortunately, all too often a very large percentage of these soils, sometimes close to 100%, is bare, scorched by the sun and beaten by the rains. Regenerative grazing is the only known tool with which we can economically remedy this at the required scale.
A bare and unprotected soil cannot fulfil its functions
3 - The soils
The capacity of soils to sequester carbon extracted from atmospheric CO2 in the form of organic matter, or humus, is well known. On a planetary scale it amounts to billions of tons. A soil rich in humus sustains more life, is better aerated and allows better water infiltration and retention. This stimulates plant growth and that is the beginning of a virtuous cycle sequestering yet more carbon for the benefit of the ecosystem and the climate of the planet.
The resilience of an ecosystem increases with the organic matter content of its soils
4 - The ecosystem
A simplified savanna ecosystem consists of grasses and forbs which feed numerous wild herbivores, which in turn feed large carnivores, and of the Maasai who own the land and graze their livestock on it. The plants are the central pillar on which both the ecological and socio-economical health of the region rests. Proper management of these savannas can only succeed with the full cooperation of the Maasai.
The maasai depend on healthy savannas
5 - The maasai
In this region, where there is no industry and a lot of poverty, the Maasai’s principal sources of revenue are drawn from their livestock and from the countless tourists who come to observe the regions iconic wild megafauna. Both these source of revenues depend on healthy savanna ecosystems.
regenerative grazing benefits the maasai while sequestering carbon and fighting global warming
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Mara Grassroots Movement
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