A Look at Desertification

For many years, large areas of grasslands around the world have been turning into barren deserts. This process, called desertification, is happening at an alarming rate in vast areas of the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Australia, Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan and many other countries. An estimated one-third of the Earth’s surface is covered with grasslands that are facing the threat of desertification. One of the major causes of desertification is agriculture — or more technically, the production of food and fibre from the world’s land and waters by human beings for human beings.

Wild Herd Activity

In the past, large wild herds of herbivores such as caribou and buffalo migrated over the land to find food and avoid predators. These herds grazed, defecated, stomped and salivated as they moved across the grasslands, building soil and deepening plant roots. Once these herds had migrated onward they would not return to an area until it had recovered.

Unfortunately, over time, the wild herds disappeared and were replaced by small numbers of domestic, sedentary livestock. Without the timely stomping and excrement of large numbers of animals, the cycle of biological decay in these grasslands was interrupted and the once-rich soils turned into dry, exposed desert land.

— Excerpt from Savory Institute