[permaculture] The Loss of Our Trees

permed at nor.com.au permed at nor.com.au
Fri Aug 2 06:24:08 EDT 2002

>I find this post, while interesting, peripheral to the current 
>tension between those who would manage for grass and those who would manage 
>for trees.  Obviously they both have value, but a strong case can be made 
>in grazing situations to keep trees very limited.  Trees tend to attract 
>animals into the shade in the hot parts of the day, limiting their grazing 
>time and concentrating manure, often killing the trees. 

That's the widely held myth among many Ozzie graziers as well and 
demonstrates an alarming degree of ignorance about the grazing animals 
needs and welfare, especially with regards to cattle. 
Cattle don't normally get out eating grass in the heat of the day (unless 
they've got no choice) - that's when they need shade and shelter to rest 
and chew their cud - a cow needs to spend at least 8 hours a day chewing 
cud so it can digest the grass it's eaten. Cattle will do up to 40% of 
their grazing at night, especially in hot weather. In Australia it is 
estimated that 15-40% of potential production is lost due to 
environmental stress, i.e. exposure to sun & wind, due to lack of trees 
and shelterbelts in grazing lands. The phenomena of trees dying due to 
excess manure and compaction under their canopy is because there aren't 
enough trees in the system to spread that good shit around. Pays to 
remember that cattle are decendants of the forest browsing cattle of 
Europe & happiest/healthiest when 40% of their diet is browsings from 
trees & shrubs. 
(Basic PDC teachings - know your animal...)

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