What is regenerative grazing?

Regenerative grazing is the practice of using grazing animals to regenerate the land. To regenerate something means to regrow or bring new and more vigorous life to an area. Historically this word has been used by biologists to describe the process of regrowing or regenerating tissues and by urban planners to describe bringing new economic life to a depressed area. More recently, the word regenerative is being used by ranchers and ecologists to describe the practice of strategically using grazing animals to regenerate degraded land.

How does it work?

Utilizing grazing animals to regenerate degraded land typically involves converting an existing or historic ranching operation from a season-long or rotational system to high-intensity, short-duration grazing. Instead of grazing a few animals over a large area for a long period, you graze a larger number of animals in a small area for a short period. The land responds to this change in management with increased productivity and diversity. Regenerating additional above-ground and below-ground biomass while increasing species diversity. It turns out that most rangeland ecosystems evolved under conditions of short, intense disturbance followed by long periods of rest, and regenerative grazing mimics these conditions.

Throughout the world, range and grassland ecosystems evolved with large migrating herds of ungulates. These herds frequently moved under pressure from native predators or hunters, evenly grazing large swaths, aerating the soil, and trampling seeds into the ground. These conditions created lush, diverse ecosystems capable of absorbing precipitation, urine, and manure.