Photos of mutilated rhino corpses have become all too familiar to conservationists lately. Sadly Rhino horn has been making a comeback on the east-Asian black market, mainly fuelled by the myth that it is effective at curing various minor ailments, such as hangovers and fevers, as well as major diseases such as cancer.
I was recently introduced to a talk on the TED website which expresses genuine ideas about re-establishing areas that have been struck by desertification.
The speaker, Allan Savory, suggests that two thirds of the world is desertifying, involving most continents, as seen below.
Many people have been led to believe, through school and university education, that over grazing causes desertification, and due to this aridity, very little rain falls, maybe only one a year. Most grassland in arid environments contains soils that are covered in a thick ‘crust’ of algae, which makes the ground hard and causes major surface runoff, meaning that any rainfall cannot penetrate the ground and provide life. It runs off into gullies and any rainfall remaining on the surface is instantly evaporated. Furthermore, bare land emits carbon as the organic matter in the soil becomes available for decomposition. 10,000 years of extremely knowledgeable pasturers has been blamed for the desertification, followed by 100 years of scientists stating that overgrazing has caused the desertification. However, all knowledge on this area is about to be turned on its head, following a revolutionary discovery by Savory.