Friday, November 29, 2013

Holistic Management

Holistic comes from a Greek word meaning whole, entire and total. Holistic management in agriculture is a system thinking approach to managing resources that was originally developed by Allan Savory for reversing desertification. Savory concluded that the spread of deserts, the loss of wildlife, and the human impoverishment that always resulted were related to the reduction of the natural herds of large grazers and even more, the change in the behavior of the remaining herds. Livestock could be substituted to provide ecosystem modification like nutrient cycling when mimicking the wild grasses and grazers.

Managers found that while rotational grazing systems can work for diverse management purposes, scientific experiments had demonstrated that they do not necessarily work for specific ecological purposes. An adaptive management plan was needed for the integration of the experiental with the experimental,  as well as the social with biophysical, to provide a more comprehensive framework for the management of rangeland systems. None of these sources of knowledge could be understood except in the context of the whole. Holistic management was developed to meet this need.

While developed as a tool for range land use and restoring desertified land, the holistic management system can be applied to other areas with multiple complex socioeconomic and environmental factors.

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