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How can we prevent overgrazing and overcultivation?

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The issue with overcultivation and overgrazing is that they typically fatigue the soil, draining it of nutrients and making it untenable in the future. Historically, this has been avoided or addressed in a variety of ways—most prominently crop rotation: planting diverse crops throughout the seasons to replenish certain minerals and elements. However, we are now at a point when that can still be detrimental.

In order to prevent overcultivation, it is necessary to let the soil rest. Giving fields a break throughout the year, or even during a full year, will allow the soil to recuperate and reincorporate the nutrients it lost. This can be done more efficiently if the farmers have larger lands where they can rotate fields to allow one to rest. Additionally, more efficient plants can be incorporated that remove fewer nutrients or take up less space (like quinoa).

Overgrazing faces a similar issue and resolution. In order to prevent crops from being destroyed and eroding the soil, it is beneficial to encourage a wider roaming pattern for grazing animals. This allows the ground to recover and gives it a break where it can establish growth and prevent erosion in the meantime before grazing is brought back.

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