Saving America's Grasslands

As grasslands diminish on prairies and savannas around the world, an innovative ranching technique that reverses the environmental damage of desertification makes its way to the U.S.

What's the Latest Development?


Human land management, or lack thereof, is creating large swaths of desert across the world and the United States. The problem has become particularly stark in the American West where worsening environmental conditions, like more frequent flooding and more intense wildfires, combine with unsustainable animal grazing patterns to create negative feedback loops. A new grazing practice, however, is already restoring ranches in dramatic fashion by modeling the way bison once roamed over the wide-open land. 

What's the Big Idea?

More than half the world's cultivatable land is suffering from desertification and the livelihoods of nearly one billion people are being put at risk, according to the United Nations. Public and private initiatives are currently underway in the U.S. to teach Holistic Management, a new approach to animal grazing which recognizes land was healthier before modern ranching methods took root. Healthier grasslands also allow the Earth to absorb more carbon dioxide, the principle cause of man-made climate change. 

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Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
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Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
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Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
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