Month: August 2020

Holistic Management and Adaptive Grazing: A Trainers’ View

The authors avoid the usual debates on whether or not Holistic Management, Holistic Planned Grazing, or any its many derivatives deliver outcomes as claimed by practitioners, and instead focuses on their contribution to managing complexity. Holistic Management’s biggest acknowledged contribution to the grazing world is (arguably) its emphasis on adaptivity, strategic decision-making, goal-setting, and ability to manage complexity. Based on data gathered from educators in American and Canada who have trained many farmers and ranchers, the authors conclude that Holistic Management represents systems thinking in practice.

The Effect of Holistic Planned Grazing on African Rangelands: A Case Study from Zimbabwe

South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council completed this study over a 6-year period comparing the Africa Centre for Holistic Management’s land at Dimbangombe under Holistic Planned Grazing (HGP), to nearby communal areas where HPG was not practiced. The researchers concluded that HPG yields positive long-term effects on ecosystem services (soils and vegetation) and points to the HPG approach enhancing the sustainability of livestock and wildlife in this environment.

Whole-System Approach Managing Grazing to Restore Soil Health and Farm Livelihoods

This paper is a literature review on the ecological impacts of grazing, and finds that where managed properly (employing a “whole-systems approach” and “adaptive, goal-directed grazing methods”) livestock are essential to ecosystem service sustainability and improvement. Soil organic matter increases were sufficient to yield a net sink of 2 tons of carbon per hectare per year.

Climate change mitigation as a co-benefit of regenerative ranching: Insights from Australia and the United States

This paper argues that the infusion of holistic decision making into the practice of planned grazing, or “regenerative ranching,” results in a suite of ecological, economic and social benefits that are the main factors keeping adherents on the regenerative path. Climate change mitigation is only a ‘co-benefit’ or after-thought. The use of holistic decision-making in the implementation of managed grazing amplifies its effects and increases regenerative potential, and, by extension, climate change mitigation potential.

A half century of Holistic Management: what does the evidence reveal?

This paper describes the main tenets of Holistic Management and addresses the longstanding and unresolved controversy over its legitimacy. The authors then provide a meta-analysis that not only gives an up-to-date review of the multidisciplinary evidence and ongoing arguments about HM, but also provides a novel explanation for the controversy—that it is grounded in epistemic differences between disciplines associated with agricultural science that rule out any chance of resolution.

Transformational adaptation on the farm: Processes of change and persistence in transitions to ‘climate-smart’ regenerative agriculture

This paper analyzes the experiences of farmers in Australia who have undertaken and sustained transitions from conventional to regenerative agriculture, the majority of whom are Holistic Management practitioners. The authors conclude that transitioning to regenerative agriculture involves more than a suite of ‘climate-smart’ mitigation and adaptation practices supported by technical innovation, policy, education, and outreach. Rather, it involves subjective, nonmaterial factors associated with culture, values, ethics, identity, and emotion that operate at individual, household, and community scales and interact with regional, national and global processes.

Remembering Guillermo Osuna

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Guillermo Osuna, a long-time personal friend and one who contributed so much to the advancement of Holistic Management in North America, and especially Mexico.

Many are the happy hours spent in Guillermo’s home or camping on his ranch in the Burro… Read more »