Elephants in our Fields?

I recently came a cross a post by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. He had a face-off with John Mackey, of Whole Foods, on the topic, “Eating Meat is Unhealthy and Unethical”. Link

The coming carbon crisis (yes, it is already here for many of us), is going to force us to look at carbon sequestration and the role of the almost unlimited amount of farmland available in the US. Our land use patterns can make that goal harder or easier to achieve, depending on how we decide to move forward. The use of animals, and for economic reasons, the use of grazing animals, can play a central role in that discussion. If we decide to reject meat in our diets, then what will we lose?

In a serendipitous event, the following item showed up in my Linked In feed the following day:

Courtesy of Ruth Glendenning and her LinkedIn post:

Trees in forests where elephants live had denser wood by about 75 grams per cubic meter than those in forests without elephants. Even just one elephant per square kilometer could increase the amount of plant mass in the forest by up to 60 tons per hectare, enough to suck up more than 10 billion tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide across Africa’s 2.2 million square kilometers of forest. As elephants disappear—which they are doing at an alarming rate—those same forests will be less able to help fight climate change.

SCience Magazine July 2019 (Link)

Just as elephants improve forest lands and their ability to suck up carbon dioxide, so do large grazing animals improve grasslands.


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