diversity

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knabe

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http://allafrica.com/stories/200709041295.html

just like with corn in the 70's?

as the slow food space says, "if you want to help save them, you gotta eat them"

hmmm, this doesn't sound like epd's
He, however, said the situation could be reserved through the targeted new breeding policy by ensuring special gene banks are established and animal breed traits classified appropriately.

too much environmental pressure, or just the right kind?  i wonder if they have every heard of an AUM (not being critical)
During a recent drought, some farmers that had kept their hardy Ankole were able to walk them long distances to water sources while those who had traded the Ankole for imported breeds lost their entire herds.
 

SWMO

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Considering that many of our Colleges and Universities with Animal Science programs are maintaining registered / purebred  herds of Charolais (NWMO) and Angus (OKla State I believe) to name just two would it be more beneficial for them to focus on maintaining livestock that may not be economically viable for the average producer. Rather than competing with the purebred livestock producer to market an already abundant breed, should these publically funded institutions  focus on maintaining genetic diversity.

I do believe there may be a time in the future when we will need the genetic diversity that seems to be disappearing more rapidly all the time.  The advent of AI and embryo transfer has certainly hastened this event.  Don't get me wrong we also use AI and embryo transfer. And now producers are able to clone livestock.

Is it important to continue to have these obscure breeds of livestock that were bred to suit a specific climate or use?  It does seem a shame to see the unique disapear completely not matter what species it is.
 

knabe

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perhaps the reason the universities feel compelled to "compete" is their mantra from the university to be "profitable" in the ag sector.  good point swmo.  just as most departments don't have to be profitable, but just need to ad to the "diversity" of the student.  this is up to the alumni and voters, not the university.  it never ceases to amaze me how much control we cede to so few.  granted, universities have an environment to do research, but they also have a mission to maintain what is unpopular in thought, why not in livestock?  Man, i am loving this idea.  this would be great to teach kids about not only genetic diversity, but how different breeds out of their land race environment perform in "unnatural" settings.
 

renegade

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I feel like they should be doing things like this. Like here the university of idaho(cloned the racing mules) is a research land grant facility and they raise and show purebred Charolais cattle. I also haven't heard of a lot of research being done in that department. I would be interesting to see them raising exotics and seeing what they could get done with them as well as preserveing those breeds.
 

chambero

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In the grand scheme of things, there isn't much that can be done to prevent intermixing and replacement.  It started occurring a few hundred years ago when humans really became mobile on a global scale.

Spending lots of money to preserve them is a novel and probably necessary idea, but its not going to change anything.  Its cheaper and probably better (production and food wise) for indigenous folks to have to replace higher producing animals every so often when severe climatic conditions hit than it is to continue to raise lower producing native species.  

It's quite a bit of a different situation with plants though.  Apart from unsuitability issues, invasive species is one of the biggest threats to native vegetation in this country and others as well.

In many cases it all boils down to the fact that too many people live in too many places that mother nature never intended to support that many people.  It all comes down to food and water availability which is still the root of all economies.  Not enough of those and you don't have time or money to spend on other less-basic endeavors.

I'm convinced there is no sustainable solution for Africa.  Its just too dry.  No way to get around it.  I suspect we don't know the meaning of the word famine yet.  Give it 50 years.  Although the AIDS crises there may dramatically reduce populations long-term anyway.  It is a sad, impossible situation that all the foreign aid, charity, and mission work in the world can't make enough of an impact on.  
 

knabe

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i agree with you chambero about africa.  africa used to be COVERED by rain forests in the sahara.  rain is fueled in part by changes in land altitude, evapotrasperation from plants and temperature and pressure differentials.  one lady is trying to plant trees like mad in africa, and for this, she won the nobel peace prize, in spite of death threats.  many plants in africa that are/were grazed were perrenials, just like the plains in the midwest and west of the rockies and sierra's.  annuals moved in and took over america about 1820's.  with them, came other destructive "improved" species like dallis grass, water grass, bermuda grass, wild oats, annual rye, foxtail, and this is just the grasses.  a few "progressive" ranchers did this like henry miller.  the native perrenials provided erosion control, a more spread out growing season, reduced evaporation loss from the soil, were adapted to the bacteria in the ground to provide nitrogen as well as adapted to the nitrogen from the atmosphere through lightening, etc etc etc.  one problem CA has is there are no perrenials to utilize underground water, and hillsides collapse over time as water accumulates and allows the hills to slip.  the only way africa is coming back, and for that matter the earth, is to modulate the human population and adjust the economic structure to not be dependent on growth for profit and quit lying that it works.  most economic data is presented as %growth, rather than profit, efficiency, etc.  it's amazing ag is actually trying to do this with cattle (find efficient cattle rather than maximum yielders).    when you have efficient animals, it's difficult to convert them to maximum producers, ie converting my honda hybrid to a '70 hemi cuda.  although it could obviously argued that more HP is created with more % fuel being burned.
 
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