Agricultural Studies Paper on Livestock and Restoration Agriculture

Agricultural Studies Paper on Livestock and Restoration Agriculture

Discussion Question: Livestock and Restoration Agriculture

  1. Why is animal polyculture a challenging field of study in agriculture?

Animal polyculture is an exercise of creating well-designed leader-follower, silvo-pasture grazing systems (Schwartz and Jorstad 115). In such as system, leader follower grazing systems leads specific type of animals in a given paddock. This exercise is carried out in other paddocks as well for experienced animal weight gain. As the animals are allowed to consume optimal foods first, pasture is given ample time for recovery before the original set of animals come back to the paddock. Animal polyculture is still a rare practice because human beings tend to ignore the significance of animals from their active interaction with plants. Animals as a component of the earth often colonize their environment and control the fertility of the field.

Animal polyculture is a challenging subject of discussion due to the constant movement of animals from place to place. Animals when left to themselves in their own kingdom, unlike human beings, tend to move frequently to regions they feel the most satisfied in terms of the availability of resources (Schwartz and Jorstad 113). Few people have encountered animal polyculture due to the variation in both place and time based on numerous factors. Human beings are unfamiliar with animal polyculture because they perceive animals that keep occupying a single niche at a time. For instance, Turkey vultures can be detected only around dead animals (Schwartz and Jorstad  117).

Another reason for this challenge is limited information pertaining to restoration agricultural system. To capture movement of animals, human beings are encouraged to practice restoration agricultural system since it takes into account niches in space and schedules in time. By studying about time considerations, research will take into consideration changes in plant systems within a single season and within the year. Restoration agricultural system refers to the process through which viable ecological system are creation, based on natural patterns and relationships. Perennial and staple foods are produced for human beings as a result and increased availability of niches for domestic and wild animals are provided for animals.


Animal polyculture refers to the presence and availability of animals within a locality where they can comfortably feed on the desired plants. It is a creative and significant agricultural practice in this modern period as well as a model practice for large-scale farming especially in the natural savanna systems. It is applied largely within the Serengeti in Africa where wild grazing animals become food for the predators. However due to increased multiplication of animals in a location, the fertility of a place tends to decrease. An enhanced approach is to ensure that animal polyculture is practices together with stocking rate system, which ensures that a given number of animals can comfortably be supported in a given area. This system enhances growth and fertility of the land for the future.

Through practice of stocking rates, crops are perceived to have ample time to re-grow to support the dependent animals. Stocking rate is an additional system to be applied in combination with the paddock system. This process is effective if animals can be counted and rated within the paddock. This is because the system guides against overgrazing among other harmful agricultural practices. Animal polyculture is a practice for innumerable number of animals within a region. Though some species of animals can be clearly seen, other species, especially those that reside in the soil are rarely identified. This implies that even though paddock system within restoration agriculture can be practiced, it is still inefficient. Though animal polyculture is a good practice, it cannot be adopted by all farmers and especially at this modern era where land is a huge resource. Furthermore, the practice requires a large field and a high population of animals.

Question: The Steps towards Restoration Agriculture

  1. How can we restore the ecological function of soil building, carbon sequestration, and nutrient cycling through fungi?

Fungi as a plant species accumulate surplus carbon in its site during the phase of aggradations. This process occurs when plants gather carbon dioxide within the air and apply the gas in the manufacture of lignin and cellulose on the planet. The combination of these carbon composites together with other compounds mare the roots, stems, leaves, and branches of trees. When leaves fall off the trees annually, they decay with the assistance of organisms. Occasionally, tree trunks decompose on the earth. Profound numbers of decomposer organisms digest and chemically dissolve leaves and wood to discharge energy within the chemical bonds of carbon molecules. Fungi remain the heavy filters in this process, as the fungal spores will be produced in large quantities within the atmosphere. Few spores will reproduce when they find suitable substrates where they can flourish.

The mycorrhizal fungi are a significant type since they colonize the roots of terrestrial plants. The plant roots absorb water and nutrients from the liquid solution within the soil particles, through symbiotic relationship, whereas the fungi encase the roots in mycelium, expanding the roots into the soil. The fungi assists the trees become established in former cropland where bacteria dominate. The decay fungi will also grow in logs or chips becoming food for the entire soil food web. Carbon dioxide from the air in turned into tree bodied, which become food for the mushrooms, which then feed the nematodes and other soil life. The excretions become fertilizer to the tree and thus a healthy ecosystem is restored for ecological functions.


Fungi are highly essential in the soil ecological system since it acts as a food as well as a carbon sequestration and nutrient cycler within the ecosystem (Berry 102). Fungi are regrowing at a high rate and act as a source of food not only to the plants but also to the animal’s kingdom. Due to the high protein content within the fungi, they are more suitable to feed the presently escalating population and curb food inadequacy. One benefit of Fungi is that it can be regrown and multiplied within a short time and limited space. For instance, lichens and mosses grow and survive on dormant regions. They can be easily planted by tossing handful of soil in the hole of a newly planted tree. The effect is culinary and medicinal multiplication of fungi for restoration agricultural system. Branches can be inoculated with oyster and used as a substrate for mushrooms such as Stropharia (Berry 64). The substrate can continuously produce fungi for several years as it crumbles into the soil. The remaining fungi can in turn become food for the food web, thereby completing a healthy ecosystem. Moreover, within 100 pounds of wood, approximately 130 pounds of high protein mushroom can be realized. The woods and chips act as source of food for the fungi as it gives back to the soil food web. Through it farming, human beings can consume nearly all the plant content that would be otherwise difficult.


Question: Restoration Agriculture

What is the relevance of the study of agricultural restoration?

Study of agricultural restoration leads to the significance of sustainable farming as a solution to the failing annual farming. The study is besides useful as the present agricultural practice if ailing and therefore need arises for the expansion of agriculture not only for human sustainability but also for energy among other necessities. This calls for the need to drift from the system  built on annual plants to perennial growth, which is a component of permanent agriculture. The ideal model for the author in ‘Restoration Agriculture’ Chapter eight is the permaculture as an ideal and carefully structured amalgamation of plants for fuel, food, and animal forage. According to Shepard (256), the present study of restoration agriculture encompasses designing of an agricultural system, which strongly relates to the savanna in its structure, the combination of species, and the ecological roles.

Agriculture is a dominant land use in most regions in the world and its value has been increasing with every increase in human needs. The economical indirect relationship between agriculture and other sectors comprise of purchase of goods like fertilizer, and chemicals. The direct relationship encompasses manufacturing industry in the distribution of raw materials.

In addition, agricultural restoration allows fewer animals of every type to be sustained within a defined piece of land, which further results to healthy soil and pasture in comparison to the minimal inputs. Maintenance of multiple species enables the farmer to manage market fluctuations.


Shepard substantiates the intrinsic worth of the oak Savanna biome model as forms of restoration farming in the Northern region of America. The viable biomes that are mentioned in chapter eight are more suitable for specific regions than in the Oak Savanna model. The listed biomes include the Temperate Riparian, the Boreal forest, the Northern Pine forest, and the sub tropics. Shepard is thus more open to the model of vegetarian diet since he spends more time in the nutritional benefits of perennial agriculture.

Apart from Antarctica, Human beings have developed their cultures in all the biomes on earth. Human adaptability a part of the major strengths ought to be harnessed to develop a lifelong culture whose survival enhances both the humanity and the environment. In every biome, there is a potential of developing the perennial staple food crops in every layer of the successive grasses to the canopy. This is further stipulated by the defining feature of the Temperate Riparian Zones, which is mostly moist and well drained. The resulting floods tend to increase the nutrient deposits of sediment in the top soil groundwater within the surface. The regions become further resilient during the drought. The major issue in the restoration agriculture in North America is the limited native genetic complexity. This implies that there is a necessity of bolstering stability in such a region with the introduction of bean producing Siberian pea-shrub. To add to the information by Shepard, plant selection for the restoration of agriculture is just tailored about the area biome and microclimates. The variation comes in with the integration of the animal husbandry into maximization of food crop production.


Works Cited

Berry Wendell. ‘“The Steps towards Restoration Agriculture.” In “The Unsettling of America:

Culture & Agriculture.” (Chapter 7-8). US; Counterpoint. 1996. Print

Schwartz D. Judith & Jorstad  Laura. “Livestock and Restoration Agriculture (Chapter 9).” In

“Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth.” 2013. PP 113- 134

Shepard Mark. “Restoration Agriculture.” USA, Acres. 2013. Print