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The Carbon Ranch: Fighting Climate Change One Acre at a Time [View All]

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tabatha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 09:57 PM
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The Carbon Ranch: Fighting Climate Change One Acre at a Time
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"The fact that Earth's land masses continue to produce a net sink of carbon dioxide provides a glimmer of hope for the task of stabilizing climate," he writes. "This carbon sink occurs despite large-scale deforestation in many parts of the world, as well as agricultural practices that tend to release soil carbon to the atmosphere. Improved agricultural and forestry practices could significantly increase the uptake of carbon dioxide." <12>

How is this possible?

There is a simple answer: two-thirds of the Earth's land mass is grassland and home to two billion people who depend on livestock at least partially for their livelihood. This means that managing the land for CO 2 sequestration, even on a small scale, could have a big impact on people and the planet. Livestock are key both economically and ecologically. They are an important source of food and wealth (and culture) to much of the Earth's human population and thus could be mobilized for carbon action.

"Healthy grasslands, livestock and associated livelihoods constitute a win-win option for addressing climate change in fragile dryland areas where pastoralism remains the most rational strategy for the wellbeing of communities," write the authors of a new FAO report from the United Nations. "It is a win-win scenario for sequestering carbon, reversing environmental degradation and improving the health, well-being and long term sustainability of livestock based livelihoods." <13>

Critics who view livestock grazing as a negative environmental stressor, and argue for its complete cessation, might be surprised to learn that early research, according to Dr. Peter Smith, indicates that "carbon accrual on optimally grazed lands is often greater than on ungrazed or overgrazed land."<14>

Taken together, sequestering CO 2 in the soil has the potential to significantly mitigate the climate crisis. However, a 'carbon ranch' must do more than just photosynthesize energy.
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