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What is Holistic Management

Holistic Management gives us the power to regenerate grasslands from an ecological, economic, and social perspective. While regenerating Earth’s desertifying global grasslands is our mission here at the Savory Institute, Holistic Management is so much more than just grazing.

Holistic Management is a framework for managing complexity. The living world is comprised of beautifully and infinitely complex adaptive living systems – land, animals, people, plants, fungi, and more all interconnected and in relationship – and the way we manage decisions amidst these complex living systems matters.

In this modern, industrial era, we have all been taught from an early age to reduce a problem down to its simplest components. This reductionist thinking works for machines and other “complicated” systems whose individual parts can be fully defined and understood, but when biology enters the picture, so too do randomness and emerging properties. Much to our chagrin, living systems cannot be controlled, only influenced. When managing these complex living systems, we must shift from “control” to “cooperation.”

Whether you are managing a farm, a family, or an organization, Holistic Management provides a framework for making decisions that ensure ecological, social, and financial needs are met, both in the short and long term.

Holistic Management provides a framework for decision-making – rooted in the fundamentals of ecosystem processes – and with a suite of planning procedures that include planned grazing, land planning, financial planning, and ecological monitoring.

The most well-known aspect of Holistic Management is Holistic Planned Grazing (HPG), though they are often mistaken as being one and the same.

While Holistic Management is the overall framework for decision-making, HPG is a planning procedure for charting grazing moves that considers the time that a plant is exposed to a grazing animal so that the plant’s recovery is planned. In short, HPG helps farmers, ranchers, and pastoralists get animals to the right place at the right time with the right behavior and for the right reasons.

In addition to planned grazing, the suite of Holistic Management planning procedures also includes land planning, financial planning, and ecological monitoring.

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