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Social Issues
Cowboy Scientists to ‘Save the Planet’
October 1, 2011
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A group of South Dakota ranchers have an intriguing plan to address climate change that they're calling "The Brown Revolution". Though their branding instincts may need work, their science instincts are stong (the name "The Brown Revolution" is supposed to call to mind "The Green Revolution", and not, um... something else).

Using holistic land management techniques developed in the 1960s, the ranchers are replicating the grazing patterns of wild bison with herds of cattle. By methodically rotating the herds to selected areas and then giving those pieces of land enough time to regenerate fully, the organic matter, water, and microorganisms in the grazing soil increase to a level that has the side benefit of sucking all kinds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Obviously, this approach has its hurdles; "It has to be done on a freaking massive scale [to have a real impact]," said one of the ranchers, "so it's going to require huge flows of capital to make it work."

To learn exactly a little more about the farming techniques of The Brown Revolution, check out this feature in the Atlantic.


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