Holistic Management: A Good Way To Save the Earth

Kennedy Meadows is inextricably part of my backstory too. The Professor, my friends, and I have spent many hours riding our horses through the beautiful place on our way to the Emigrant Wilderness. We’ve eaten at the restaurant, spent time in the bar, and my favorite – hung out after dark by the corrals just to watch the stock. I had hoped future county management of the land there would include holistic management. Still do.

A South African wildlife expert named Allan Savory discovered a way that intensively managed livestock grazing can stand in for biodiversity. It’s called Holistic Management: a systems-based approach to managing livestock and the land.


Last summer I visited Kennedy Meadows with our Agricultural Commissioner Vicki Helmar and other county staff. Vicki was pleased to see the condition of the meadow given the stories she’d heard about alleged mismanagement. The grass was lush with very few weeds and nonnative grasses. All in all, she said, the meadow seems quite healthy.


Kennedy Meadows is  used as an overnight resting and staging area for a USFS grazing allotment. As such, it’s grazed for several days twice a year, at the beginning and end of the season. When cattle are present, there are a lot of them. Folks see all the cows (or the manure after they’re gone), the trampled grass, and are concerned that cows are ruining the meadow. Far from it.

In actuality, the meadow is managed very much like the Savory Institute and Holistic Management folks recommend. It’s grazed intensively and then rested for long periods. Allan Savory explains why this is important in the next video.


So folks shouldn’t be so quick to try to banish cows off Kennedy Meadows or the land in general. Perhaps if we educate people about the restorative nature of grazing holistically, there IS a way past impasse. Most of us want the same thing: a healthy planet.  Cattle grazing is good for the land and for most of us, offers a much more palatable way to save the earth than bringing back large carnivores. That’s very good news indeed. 

The focus of the Savory Institute is to restore the vast grasslands of the world through the teaching and practice of Holistic Management and Holistic Decision Making. The Institute’s Consulting and Training activities are turning deserts into thriving grasslands, restoring biodiversity, bringing streams, rivers and water sources back to life, combating poverty and hunger, and increasing sustainable food production, all while putting an end to global climate change. Visit the Institute at www.SavoryInstitute.com.

Holistic Management International is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring the health of degraded private, public and communal grasslands worldwide. By managing land resources in partnership with nature, we can increase land productivity, optimize water resources, preserve food sources, create sustainable livelihoods, and remove Carbon Dioxide from our atmosphere. For more info, visit: http://www.holisticmanagement.org/.

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