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When Global Warming Threatens Wool Industry

Sustainability is becoming an even bigger issue in the wool industry as the time passes by, despite the availability of what we call as high technology and modern facilities. Over grazing and climate change are particularly pressing on the sustainability of wool sources.

Goat Cashmere - In the vast lands of Mongolia, herds of cashmere goats are finding lesser and lesser grasslands. They said it's because herders continue to grow the number of goats with the view of producing more raw cashmere. But due to that as well, the grasslands continue to grow smaller and smaller, creating an imbalance between the goats and their food source. Could that be due to excessive grazing only?

Could climate change or dryer conditions have any effect to the Mongolian vegetation? Yes. Overgrazing and the increasing temperatures in Mongolia, which climbed an average of 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit, resulted to extreme weather occurrences. Droughts, floods and sandstorms have significantly become more frequent, glaciers recede, permafrost melts, and groundwater table decreases. Due to climate change, which led to water shortages and lack of precipitation, the country also suffers from desertification and land degradation. Not only will these changes affect cashmere goats and cashmere industry, but also have severe impact on human health and longevity.

Merino Wool - What about Australia's merino wool, does climate change have any effect on it? Australian merino wool is recognized as a luxurious type of fleece that provides comfort and protection against wind, rain, summer heat, and cold winters, the finest among its class. But as we know, the depleted ozone layer of Antarctica has already reached the southern parts of Australia, and this surely affects vegetation as well as sheep herds in these areas. Nonetheless, merino is suffering not much from that, but from the decreased demand of wool and the protests against the practice of mulesing.

Rabbit Wool - Angora rabbits, which produce types of wools that range from fine, long, and smooth hairs, provide outstanding warm wool. However, the temperature changes greatly affect rabbit wool production, not to mention the laborious and costly job in raising them. Angora rabbits are raised in production buildings in order to provide them with regulated temperature, between 30°C and 10°C. Without production facilities, wool from Angora rabbits would face noticeable decline due to climate change.

Alpaca Wool - Peru, Chile, and Bolivia are some of the few places known for the finest alpaca, vicuna, and llama wools. Does climate change have any effect on these precious animals? National Agriculture and Sanitation Service of Peru reported on August 2009 that at least 20,000 Alpacas died since January that year. Climate change caused freezing temperatures to come three months earlier than usual. Besides the casualties, 73,000 more alpacas have suffered from illnesses brought by the long winter's freezing temperature and lack of grass.

Vicuna Wool - Vicuna, the smallest member of the camelid family, is another source of the precious wool that requires more water than the other members of its kind. Besides the normal climate that is dry and hot during the day but cold at night, vicuna need to live near water source. However, global warming is also altering the delicate habitat of these camelids. And because of overgrazing, pollution of water sources, and other human activities also have great effect on the vicunas, their number extremely plummet in the future.

Llama Wool - In Bolivia, the Andean llama producers are among the subsistent farmers affected by climate change included in beneficiaries of Bolivian emergency programs. Activities are aimed at ensuring food security and restoration of livelihood by means of agriculture rehabilitation and strengthening local capacity to withstand effects of climate change and other natural disasters. Yes, the government of Bolivia can see the effect of climate change on llamas.

Guanaco Wool - It is believed that 50 million guanacos inhabit South America before European settlers arrived. Now, only 40 percent of their original range is occupied by them, fragmented in small and relatively isolated populations. Drought and overgrazing, which are possibly linked to climate change, also threaten guanaco besides poaching, overhunting, habitat degradation, as well as isolation and declining population.

Yak Wool - Yak wool's being stronger and warmer than sheep's triggered enthusiasm among entrepreneurs. However, the source is also suffering from the impact of climate change. Yaks can withstand lower than freezing temperatures, but are sensitive to high temperatures. When the temperature on lower points of Himalayas climbs, herds need to also climb elevated parts, and they do this on schedule, according to temperature and forage. However, global warming can significantly alter schedule. And when there's less forage at the elevated points, yaks won't go down, causing exhaustion on natural resource.

Camel Wool - Camel is perhaps the most sustainable source of wool amid climate change. Whether there is more precipitation or longer hot season, camels are barely affected. Their number doesn't show any significant decline. For camel wool producers, this thing is very much favorable. However, the increasing camel population has become more of a bad news than good news in Australia. Greenhouse gas, stress on sources of water, not enough vegetation for other animals and even extinction of other types of plants, as well as damage to human properties are the problems that sprouted due to 1-1.2 million camels that doubles every 9 years.

Pulse Uniform and its medical uniforms products are not directly affected by the sustenance of wool resource. At some point, though, our hospital scrubs and lab coats would also be affected. This is due to the fact that Pulse Uniform also supports eco-friendly nursing scrub tops and scrub pants like the ones produced by Cherokee, under its Bamboo Planet Collection.

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