Announcing our new partner: The Savory Institute
Published on: May 12, 2020
Savory Institute: Founded by Zimbabwean rangeland ecologist Allan Savory, the Savory Institute has partnered up with reNature to catalyze the spread of innovative livestock farming techniques to regenerate grasslands. Specifically, the Institute focuses on the promotion of Holistic Management which was developed by Allan Savory.
The remarkable story of Allan Savory
Explaining the mission of the Savory Institute is best facilitated by telling the remarkable story of its founder Allan Savory. Savory grew up and lived in Zimbabwe being exposed to the growing problem of desertification. At the time, it was understood that animals were the root cause of the problem which even led to the culling of 40,000 elephants. As a result, the degradation of land continued and even got worse.
Contrasting his own previous beliefs and those of the general public, he started to realize that it was not the animals that caused the damage but the way they moved around the landscape: Without the ability to move around as they have always done, grazing, animals do not leave the vegetation time to regrow which can lead to overgrazing and undergrazing of different species. However, when managed correctly, plants grow back, remain productive, and receive fertilization from animal droppings which actually helps to replenish degraded landscapes.
Turning cows into regenerative landscape stewards
Grounded in this belief is the Savory Institute which has been founded by Savory in 2009. By now, it is one of the worlds leading organizations advocating for and facilitating the application of his approach summarized under the name of Holistic Management.
Holistic Management centers around a holistic decision-making framework that allows for the regeneration of degraded grasslands through the use of livestock such as cattle or sheep. These are managed and moved in a way ensuring optimal regrowth of grassland vegetation and, with it, the sequestration of carbon in the soil.
The Institute promotes this practice by creating global hubs in various locations providing education and training and creating a global network. By now, it has set up 47 of those hubs and facilitated the application of the approach on more than 13 million ha indicating the approaches success.
Integrating regenerative practices in Brazil
reNature has now partnered up with the Savory Institute to merge forces and integrate expertise more closely in promoting regenerative farming practices, especially in Latin America. The focus lies on complementing each other whilst creating new opportunities in regards to the integration of trees and crops with holistic livestock management.
In a first practical collaboration, reNature and the Savory Institute are now working on a new and diverse cattle project in Brazil. The project – called Pasto Vivo – explores combinations and interactions between productive forest, silvopasture (trees with cows), and holistically managed cattle.
The aim is to find the most feasible way of integrating the components whilst maximizing benefits for the farmer, the cows, and the environment. The focus lies on increasing farm productivity, regeneration of the soil, creating a favorable habitat for the animals, fostering biodiversity, and creating a carbon sink.
With the collective effort of multiple organizations – the Climate Smart Group, Meraki Impact, the Luxor Group, and Preta Terra – Savory Institute and reNature are creating a showcase of how cattle farming can be done differently. Much attention will be brought to measuring the project progress and assessing its impacts. This way, a solid groundwork can be laid for the promotion of similar systems in Brazil and beyond.