Soil4Climate and Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism Launch Grazing Effort to Heal Land, Address Climate Change
December 30, 2019 - NAIROBI, Kenya - Soil4Climate and the Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism (MCRP) today announced the official start of a land restoration effort called Enkop Osiligi, Maasai for "Promised Land."
The Enkop Osiligi program offers hope for rural pastoralism by implementing a revolutionary grazing practice, Holistic Planned Grazing, that heals degraded soil. Improving soil fertility in this way increases its carbon content, enhances food and water security, and mitigates global warming.
By using large, tightly packed and frequently moved herds, Holistic Planned Grazing replicates how enormous packs of wild grazers such as wildebeest, zebra, and other ruminants beneficially impacted the land.
The partitioning of land has led to many small herds grazing in a haphazard fashion, resulting in unnatural animal impact. This has caused land degradation, soil erosion, and the proliferation of weeds unpalatable to livestock. Although not readily apparent, it has also led to a loss of soil carbon, or “soil organic matter,” exacerbating climate change and leaving grazed areas more vulnerable to droughts and floods.
To counter this trend, the Enkop Osiligi project has facilitated training in regenerative grazing management for land-owning families in the Maasai village of Enkutoto Nalala. It has also provided funding to purchase cows to increase the herd sufficiently to ensure beneficial land impact, and to construct an earth dam to capture rainfall for the livestock to drink. As well, the project funds other restorative agricultural approaches including reforestation and bee keeping.
A scientific research program to monitor ecosystem impacts, such as changes in soil carbon and in the diversity of plant species, is presently under development.
Financial support for the Enkop Osiligi project has been provided through crowdfunding and the generosity of US-based Nutiva Inc., which donates 1% of its sales to regenerative agriculture.
John Roulac, founder of Nutiva, said, "It is an honor to support this creative initiative that serves as a model for restoring degraded land and rejuvenating herding communities in Kenya, Tanzania, and other arid countries throughout the world.”
"Soil4Climate is pleased to partner with the Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism on this historic project that propels Maasai herders into the forefront of the effort to restore soil carbon to reverse global warming,” commented Seth Itzkan, cofounder of Soil4Climate.
Dalmas Tiampati, founder and executive director of MCRP, stated, "Grazing is what the Maasai do. Our community believes this is a great opportunity for us and for the world. I look forward to helping to restore my homeland, and take comfort in the international interest in and support for our efforts.”
The Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism, a Kenya-based nonprofit, works with Maasai pastoralists to implement regenerative land management practices.
Soil4Climate, a US-based environmental nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, advocates for soil restoration as a climate solution. Join the 15,000+ scientists, farmers, policymakers, journalists, and concerned global citizens of Soil4Climate at facebook.com/groups/Soil4Climate.