Tag: Literature Review

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.

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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.

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Benefits of multi-paddock grazing management on rangelands: Limitations of experimental grazing research and knowledge gaps

This paper refutes recent research that finds no benefits for vegetation or animal production under “multi-paddock rotational grazing” in comparison to continuous grazing. It finds that these studies were small scale and fixed protocol experiments that did not adequately match the experience of successful managers. Four key factors in successful “multi-paddock rotational grazing” are identified: (1) Planned grazing and financial planning to reduce costs; (2) adjusting animal numbers or having a buffer area available so that animal numbers match forage availability in wet and dry years; (3) grazing grasses and forbs moderately and for short periods during the growing season to allow adequate recovery; and (4) Timing grazing to mitigate detrimental effects of defoliation at critical points in the grass plant life cycle.

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What place for livestock on a re-greening earth?

This paper contemplates the role of livestock and livestock management in providing helpful ecosystem services, “re-greening the earth,” through a literature review considering both the well documented injurious and highly beneficial outcomes of ruminants on landscapes, such as promoting perennials on landscapes. It thus acknowledges that livestock can be both “stressors and benefactors,” at the onset and builds from there. It offers seven questions for which to frame the discussion of livestock management and research that can be seen through the lenses of “systems,” “place,” “time,” and “community.”

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

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.

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Hawkins’s 2017 Meta Analysis of Holistic Planned Grazing Should be Retracted

This paper refutes Hawkins (2017), “A global assessment of Holistic Planned Grazing™ compared with season-long, continuous grazing: meta-analysis findings,” which argues that Holistic Planned Grazing (HPG) is not superior to yearlong continuous grazing. It is shown that none of the twenty-one papers reviewed by Hawkins were representative of HPG. Not one paper, for example, mentioned Holistic Content, Holistic Management, or Holistic Decision Making that are tenants to the practice. According to the author, none of the studies reviewed by Hawkins mention the Holistic Management Handbook, the “grazing plan & control chart” nor the 17 steps to creating a grazing plan, all central to the HPG protocol.

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