Holistic Management

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WSU image of cattle in Lazy R Ranch paddock

Holistic Management (HM) is an approach to decision making that emerged from efforts to restore grasslands and their soils through intensive grazing management. While HM is primarily a decision making process, which attempts to resolve individual and group needs within complex ecological, economic and social systems, its application and advocates are strongly involved in arid land management through cattle grazing. Similar grazing practices are also described as "intensive rotational grazing" or "short duration grazing" or "prescribed grazing" when separated from the management processes.

Holistic management as a decision making process involves defining one's holistic context, purpose, and desired future resource base as a way of evaluating different actions. This approach is intended to make us more effective working complex systems, where actions based on narrowly defined problems often yield unintended consequences. Because of the entanglement of Holistic Management and grassland grazing, it might be appropriate to shifting some of this content to a page on Prescribed Grazing. There appears to be the potential for disconnection between the broader philosophy of holistic management, and advocacy for intensive rotational grazing strategies in the ranching community.