Phasing out my cattle.... (fwd)
vic at daena.eepo.com.au
Fri Nov 13 02:25:56 EST 1998
For anyone interested in broadacre Permaculture.
To: general at lists.holisticmanagement.org
From: Allan Savory <allans at holisticmanagement.org>
I hope you are making this decision toward your holistic goal and thus
looking at all the testing. Having originally coined the term game
ranching many years ago in Africa I obviously have had a long interest in
and association with it. My thinking when I did that and when I
subsequently worked with two American Fullbright Scholars on the
development of game ranching in Africa, was faulty. It was my belief, like
many people, that cattle were causing all the damage to ranges and wildlife
and we could do so much better if we could get rid of the cattle and ranch
the game. I was wrong.
Now on our own ranch in Zimbabwe where we have our Regional Training
Center, we have all the normal big game of Africa including buffalo,
elephants, lions, sable, zebra, kudu, leopards, hyenas, waterbuck, etc etc.
But we are having to introduce a herd of cattle to manage the rangeland
and watercycle as the game are not able to provide the impact needed. This
is understandable as we have so interfered with the game through roads,
railway lines, croplands, etc. and so persecuted the predators that the
herds do not really function as they used to and nor can I see any chance
of them doing so for a long time. Fire has as always tended to be used to
replace the role vast herds of large game once provided and of course this
has done enormous damage. We are now using the cattle to replace the role
of fire and to build up both the watercycle and the game herds. We are
only now starting on this and have spent the last year just learning how to
run a small herd of cattle and live with the lions. Our cattle have to be
put in lion-proof enclosures every night and are herded by day. Of course
we cannot use fencing with all the game.
If ever you wanted to visit our site you could do so and would be more than
You may want to consider running the cattle as a management tool as you
build up your game and learn as you go, rather than getting rid of the
cattle and later having perhaps to bring them back. One thing in your
favour is that your environment sounds less brittle than ours. We are in
about a 30" rainfall but very brittle environment. Our grass can be
anywhere from a couple of feet high to over six feet.
You do not say what size your ranch is nor what the types of game would be.
In principle the bigger the area and the larger the herds the more chance
you would have of managing with the game alone.
Don't know if this helps you. You could give me a call if you wanted to
At 09:00 PM 11/10/98 -0600, you wrote:
>I'm giving some thought to developing a long-range plan for my ranch which
>involves the eventual phasing out of my cattle herd in favor of building a
>This would mean that I might have no cattle on my ranch in about 3 years
>and that I would be entering into a program of developing habitat for wildlife
>native to this area.
>I'm wondering if there are tools I can use (or if anyone has any ideas) which
>will replace - or come close to replacing - the impact cattle has on land.
>anyone have any ideas?
>My ranch is in located in north central Texas.....some say it's on the border
>of east Texas. The ranch is somewhere around a 4 on the brittleness scale.
>Jim Reed, in Texas
>jreed1 at airmail.net
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