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Thread: Pastoralism may have delayed the end of the green Sahara

  1. #1
    Advisor Jovialis's Avatar
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    Pastoralism may have delayed the end of the green Sahara

    Abstract

    The climate deterioration after the most recent African humid period (AHP) is a notable past example of desertification. Evidence points to a human population expansion in northern Africa prior to this, associated with the introduction of pastoralism. Here we consider the role, if any, of this population on the subsequent ecological collapse. Using a climate-vegetation model, we estimate the natural length of the most recent AHP. The model indicates that the system was most susceptible to collapse between 7 and 6 ka; at least 500 years before the observed collapse. This suggests that the inclusion of increasing elements of pastoralism was an effective adaptation to the regional environmental changes. Pastoralism also appears to have slowed the deterioration caused by orbitally-driven climate change. This supports the view that modern pastoralism is not only sustainable, but beneficial for the management of the world’s dryland environments.


    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-06321-y

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    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Abstract

    The climate deterioration after the most recent African humid period (AHP) is a notable past example of desertification. Evidence points to a human population expansion in northern Africa prior to this, associated with the introduction of pastoralism. Here we consider the role, if any, of this population on the subsequent ecological collapse. Using a climate-vegetation model, we estimate the natural length of the most recent AHP. The model indicates that the system was most susceptible to collapse between 7 and 6 ka; at least 500 years before the observed collapse. This suggests that the inclusion of increasing elements of pastoralism was an effective adaptation to the regional environmental changes. Pastoralism also appears to have slowed the deterioration caused by orbitally-driven climate change. This supports the view that modern pastoralism is not only sustainable, but beneficial for the management of the world’s dryland environments.


    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-06321-y
    Interesting study.

    Nice to see one where human beings aren't a pestilence degrading the planet and all life forms including their own.


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    Advisor bicicleur's Avatar
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    I find this very strange.
    I can understand that irrigation, if planned well, can stop or slow down desertification.
    But I don't understand what good pastoralism does in such situation, on the contrary.

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    This supports the view that modern pastoralism is not only sustainable, but beneficial for the management of the world’s dryland environments.

    Now THAT is a conclusion I honestly would never even have guessed! It sounds quite strange, even a bit unbelievable for me, but they are experts and must have their reasons to state that. As Angela also implied, it's just that we're too used to hear about the presence of more intensive economic activities by humans being (nearly) always harmful to the preservation of the natural equilibrium.

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