Grassland Restoration

What is Grassland Restoration & Why is S.M.I. Pursuing this Endeavor?

Grassland restoration is defined as the act of restoring landscape or the reestablishment of an area in which the natural vegetation consists largely of perennial grasses.  Specifically, defined as restoring areas of grasses to their former, original, and unimpaired condition. Specifically, when looking back at an era to restore were looking for a time when that system was at its ecological balance.

Why should Grassland Restoration be Important to us? 

All the things we are concerned about globally can be helped by the simple act of restoring these landscapes. With a holistic management approach, we are able to simulate the behavior of the megafuana healthy ecosystem with the use of shepherds.  One of the key elements that is often missed; yet, is a main area of focus for S.M.I. is the importance to find, educate, and support a new generation of shepherds.


Some History

Ten to fifteen thousand years ago “megafauna”, a term used to describe large animals that weigh over 100 lbs at maturity, co-evolved with the same soils and plants that are still around us today.  During this time period grasses that lived for up to thousands of years were seen as the primary source of food for the vast number of herbivores that grazed and roamed the land.  These grasses thrived in the system that they evolved in.  The amount of soil disturbance that occurred from grazing by the megafauna is apart of the system that built soil and deepened plant roots.  Another cause of the health and abundance of perennial grasses was due to the amount of recovery time experienced as the megafauna migrated.  Driven to migrate, the megafauna were in constant movement due to the threat of their carnivorous predators as well as the amount of food available to them during their dry season.  This periodic extended recovery time is vital to accumulating a source of older material to serve as a source of soil-covering litter.  Since these grazing herds have almost entirely disappear by being replaced with the low number of sedentary livestock the balance of birth, growth, death, and decay has been disrupted. Grasslands depend on biological decay. Grass needs animals to thrive. The problem can be reversed with herds of lives stock.  A new form of management that mimics the natural behavior of wild herds and restores carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water cycling, and mineral cycling can be done through Holistic Planned Grazing.


For more information click on the links to the following videos:

Holistic Planned Grazing

Allan Savory- EXTRACTS-Keeping Cattle: cause or cure for climate crisis?


An Example Of How Grassland Restoration Has Made An Ecological & Cultural Difference.

One of the greatest success stories to date comes from the non-profit organization established by Zimbabweans called The Africa Centre for Holistic Management located in Zimbabwe.  In 1994 20,000 acres were donated to the Africa Centre to be used as a Holistic Management demonstration and learning site and training centre for the Southern Africa region. According to Constance L. Neelyand and Jody Butterfield from The Savory Center, “Through its partnership with the Wange community, the Africa Centre hopes to become a model of sustainable resource management that can be replicated in the region and elsewhere in Africa to restore land productivity, diversity of wildlife, and local community livelihoods. By combining small groups of animals into larger herds and planning their daily moves, herdsmen maximize forage production and the benefits of animal impact – the hoof action of the animals as well as the dung and urine that fertilize the soil. By mimicking the wild herds that roamed these lands in the past and keeping livestock moving, they minimize overgrazing of plants, which over time leads to increased ground cover. Livestock are, in effect, being used as a tool for improving soil aeration, water penetration, seed germination, and increasing species diversity and productivity. Rivers are beginning to flow again because water retention in soils has increased, leading also to more secure and lasting boreholes. These elements, combined with predator-friendly approaches to protecting livestock such as lion-proof kraals, enhance the habitat for large populations of wildlife to grow and flourish.”The Africa Centre for Holistic Management is not only responsible for educating graduates and trainers from their Holistic Management education programs but have created a mind shift educating villagers all over South Africa to preserve and protect land which then creates bountiful crops to provide food, beautiful landscapes to promote tourism, and through grassland restoration has taken once bare dry land and made it flourish with grasslands and water pools for megafuana to thrive on.



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