It has been discovered that animal grazing may be the key to fighting climate change, according to a recent study by Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) and the Divecha Centre for Climate Change (DCCC), Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
As per the report, removal of grazing severely affected the levels of soil carbon, which can lead to unintended ramifications for the global carbon cycle.
The study began in 2005, by Sumanta Bagchi, an Associate Professor at CES, and continued for the last 16 years.
It was published in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences' Journal.
Without Grazing, Soil Carbon Fluctuates by 30-40%
The study was initially about the impact of grazing animals on the Himalayan ecosystem.
Soil cover is an integral factor required to maintain the life of hills. However, grazing animals are also crucial for stabilising the level of soil carbon in the ecosystem.
When the study began, Bagchi and his team created fenced plots for animals like the yak and ibex to graze in. They proceeded to collect soil samples from each plot to analyse the chemical composition for approximately a decade.
It was concluded that soil carbon fluctuated as much as 30-40 percent in plots in the years animals were not grazing in them, whereas the plots that did have animals grazing in them were considerably more stable.
According to the study, "Grazing by mammalian herbivores can be a climate mitigation strategy as it influences the size and stability of a large soil carbon (soil-C) pool."