A recent research article titled “Adaptive multi-paddock grazing management’s influence on soil food web community structure for: increasing pasture forage production, soil organic carbon, and reducing soil respiration rates in southeastern USA ranches” written by David C. Johnson, Richard Teague, Steven Apfelbaum, Ry Thompson, Peter Byck highlighted how adaptive planned grazing can increase soil organic carbon by 20% and 46% more standing crop biomass, as well as providing a host of other benefits. But, even more telling, was that the average Animal Units (AU)/ha carried on the Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) sites was 1.88 vs. .844 on the conventionally grazed (CG) sites for a 123% increase in stocking rate.
The research was performed on five different pairs of ranches in the southeastern US, with one ranch using some form of AMP management (defined as short grazing events with planned, adaptive recovery periods) and the other ranch utilizing CG management (defined as continuous grazing at low stock density). Measurements were taken on pasture productivity, soil food web structure, soil organic carbon and soil microbial respiration efficiency.
Researchers indicate that if more ranchers converted to AMP grazing, there would be greater regeneration of the soil food web population, structure, diversity and biological functionality. In turn, there would be more improvement of carbon flow into plant biomass, buildup of soil carbon, predator/prey nutrient cycling and soil microbial respiration efficiency. These ecosystem benefits would then improve climate resilience and the ability to capture and store atmospheric CO2 in rangeland soils.
In fact, the researchers calculations suggested that regenerative practices like these would offer a hypothetical global CO2 reduction potential of ∼6.66 billion tonnes CO2 year−1 on the 1.25 billion hectares of savannahs and grasslands in the world, or approximately 18.19% of global CO2 emissions.
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