Manual Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision Making

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Savory eventually came to realize that on the most fundamental level, environmental problems are caused by human management decisions, and only through wholesale changes in the way decisions are made can functioning ecosystems be restored. In response to that startling discovery, Savory began to develop a revolutionary new approach to decision-making and management.

Holistic Management A New Framework for Decision Making

Known initially as Holistic Resource Management, and now as simply Holistic Management, it considers humans, their economies, and the environment as inseparable. It includes a common-sense decision-making framework that requires no specialized knowledge or elaborate technology to utilize, and is applicable in any environment or management situation. At the heart of the approach lies a simple testing process that enables people to make decisions that simultaneously consider economic, social, and environmental realities, both short- and long-term.

Holistic Management is a newly revised and updated edition of Holistic Resource Management Island Press, , which was the first book-length treatment of Savory's decision-making framework and how it could be applied.

A decade of trial-and-error implementation has strengthened and clarified the book's ideas, and has expanded the scope of the process to include all manner of decisions and management situations, not just those that relate to land and resource management. Holistic Management has been practiced by thousands of people around the world to profitably restore and promote the health of their land through practices that mimic nature, and by many others who have sought a more rewarding personal or family life.

Solving climate change from the ground up.

This book is an essential handbook for anyone involved with land management and stewardship -- ranchers, farmers, resource managers, and others -- and a valuable guide for all those seeking to make better decisions within their organizations or in any aspect of their personal lives.

Allan Savory is cofounder and president of the Savory Institute. His work in resource management started in the mids in an effort to find workable solutions ordinary people could implement to restore degraded lands. He and his wife, Jody Butterfield continue those efforts today, reaching a global audience through the efforts of the Savory Institute.

Convert currency. Learn how global and ecological realities translate into day-to-day decisions you can make to improve your quality of life. The Network. Holistic Management. Paths of Learning.


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What past experience do we have to go on? Will it do the job? How quickly? Is it allowable under prevailing laws and regulations?


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Is it cost-effective? Is it ethical? Will it produce a positive cash flow? Is it profitable? What will our peers say? What will the neighbors say? Is it politically expedient? Will it harm the environment?

Will it have adverse social consequences? If we are convinced the action we are contemplating will achieve the expected outcome, we'll go ahead with it. Generally, we assume we have made the right decision, although we can't be sure until we see what actually happens. The major fault in this process—and thus, in the way we were making decisions—is that it lacks an organizing framework. In pursuing a variety of goals and objectives, in whatever situation we manage, we often fail to see that some of them are in conflict and that the achievement of one might come at the expense of achieving another.

In weighing up the actions we might take to reach our goals and objectives, we have no way to account for nature's complexity and only rarely factor it in. Actions that are judged to be financially sound might prove to be socially or environmentally unsound, but how do we really know? The need for such a framework has long been obscured because of the success we have managed to achieve without it.

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Holistic management a new framework for decision making pdf

We have been able to develop ever more sophisticated forms of technology with which to exploit Earth's resources and to make life genuinely more comfortable, but we have not been able to do so without damaging our environment at the same time. The earliest human populations would have had no cause to reflect on such matters as long as their technology did not surpass that of other animals that used stones to break eggs and shellfish. At that early level people could not distort their environment enough to upset ecological harmony much at all. But that soon changed. By the time humans had acquired the use of fire, and our technology had grown sophisticated enough to enable us to reach and settle new continents or isolated islands, we were capable of inflicting enormous damage.

Within years of their arrival in New Zealand, the Maori had exterminated nearly all the flightless birds, including 12 different species of the giant pound moa, and decimated much of the seashore life.

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Following the arrival of the Aborigines in Australia 40, to 60, or more years ago, over 80 percent of the large mammalian genera became extinct. The fires deliberately set by the Aborigines when hunting, or to limit the extent of uninhabitable rainforest, led to a dramatic increase in soil erosion, the abrupt disappearance of fire-sensitive plant species, and a dramatic increase in fire-dependent species, such as eucalypts.

In North America, over 70 percent of the large mammalian genera became extinct following the arrival of Native Americans around 12, years ago. Mammoths, saber-tooth lions, horses, camels, piglike animals, and members of the family that included goats, sheep, and cattle were among the species lost. Native American fires were also likely to have been responsible for the fire-dependent vegetation that dominates many American landscapes today.

When horses were reintroduced to North America by Europeans in the seventeenth century, the Plains Indians quickly adopted them as a means of transport. That, combined with the readiness with which they also adopted the rifle, made them highly successful bison hunters.