Origin, Persistence, and Resolution of the Rotational Grazing Debate: Integrating Human Dimensions Into Rangeland Research

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Read full article: “Origin, Persistence, and Resolution of the Rotational Grazing Debate: Integrating Human Dimensions Into Rangeland Research

Summary: This paper examines the origins of the “rotational grazing” debate in range management and suggests that discrepancies between scientific findings and manager experience can be rectified through a context of “complex adaptive systems” where social and biophysical factors are considered as well as experimental evidence. The paper mistakenly equates the work of Allan Savory with rotational grazing, and never refers to “multi-paddock rotational grazing” or “adaptive rotational grazing” to acknowledge the nuance of what Holistic Management (HM) is clearly about, even though those terms, which more closely define HM, were in wide use at the time this paper was written.  It also fails to recognize that management for complexity in unique situations is precisely the point of “holistic” management as a “decision making framework” in the first place – clearly akin to the “complex adaptive system” approach the authors advocate for. Also, although mischaracterizing Savory and seemingly dismissing his work – while nonetheless borrowing and renaming the basic premise – the paper still recognizes the value of the Savory approach, for example, citing research which showed that it produced significant vegetative improvements in certain circumstances and proved helpful in managing for fires.

Briske, D. D., Nathan F. Sayre, L. Huntsinger, M. Fernandez-Gimenez, B. Budd, and J. D. Derner. 2011. “Origin, Persistence, and Resolution of the Rotational Grazing Debate: Integrating Human Dimensions Into Rangeland Research.”  Rangeland Ecology & Management 64 (4):325-334.

See also:

Briske, David D., Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, and Joel R. Brown. 2014. “Savory’s Unsubstantiated Claims Should Not Be Confused With Multipaddock Grazing.”  Rangelands 36 (1):39-42. doi: 10.2111/1551-501X-36.1.39.

Briske, David D., Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, Joel R. Brown, Samuel D. Fuhlendorf, and H. Wayne Polley. 2013. “The Savory Method Can Not Green Deserts or Reverse Climate Change.”  Rangelands 35 (5):72-74. doi: 10.2111/RANGELANDS-D-13-00044.1.

Briske, D. D., Nathan F. Sayre, L. Huntsinger, M. Fernandez-Gimenez, B. Budd, and J. D. Derner. 2011. “Origin, Persistence, and Resolution of the Rotational Grazing Debate: Integrating Human Dimensions Into Rangeland Research.”  Rangeland Ecology & Management 64 (4):325-334. doi: https://doi.org/10.2111/REM-D-10-00084.1.

Briske, D. D., J. D. Derner, J. R. Brown, S. D. Fuhlendorf, W. R. Teague, K. M. Havstad, R. L. Gillen, A. J. Ash, and W. D. Willms. 2008. “Rotational Grazing on Rangelands: Reconciliation of Perception and Experimental Evidence.”  Rangeland Ecology & Management 61 (1):3-17. doi: 10.2111/06-159R.1.

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