Holistic management is an approach to managing agricultural and natural resources that considers the entire ecosystem and aims to optimize its health and productivity. It was developed by Allan Savory, a Zimbabwean biologist, farmer, and consultant, in response to the problems of land degradation and desertification in Africa.
Holistic management involves a holistic decision-making process that takes into account the needs and values of all stakeholders, including farmers, ranchers, communities, and the environment. This process is based on a framework of four key principles:
Define the holistic context: This involves identifying and prioritizing the needs and goals of all stakeholders, as well as the ecosystem services that the land provides.
Develop a holistic goal: A holistic goal is a long-term vision that reflects the values and aspirations of the stakeholders, as well as the ecological and economic potential of the land.
Formulate a holistic plan: The holistic plan is a roadmap for achieving the holistic goal, which takes into account the current and potential state of the land, the available resources, and the management practices required to achieve the goal.
Monitor and adapt: The holistic management process is iterative and adaptive, requiring continuous monitoring and feedback to ensure that the plan is achieving the desired outcomes, and making adjustments as necessary.
Holistic management emphasizes the importance of regenerative and sustainable agricultural practices, such as rotational grazing, cover cropping, and soil conservation, which can improve soil health, increase biodiversity, and mitigate climate change. It also recognizes the critical role of social and cultural factors in sustainable land management, such as the need to respect and engage with local communities and their traditions.