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A term that describes systems thinking approach to managing land resources that builds biodiversity, improves production, generates financial strength, and improves the quality of life for those who use it. Developed by Allan Savory, Holistic Management offers a new decision-making framework that managers in a variety of enterprises, cultures, and countries are using to help ensure that the decisions they take are economically, socially, and environmentally sound, simultaneously—both short and long term.



The idea of Holistic Management began in the 1960’s when Allan Savory, then a young wildlife biologist in his native Southern Rhodesia, set out to solve the riddle of desertification. After successive careers as a farmer, game rancher, management consultant, a member of Parliament and leader of the opposition party in the midst of a civil war, Savory concluded that the spread of deserts, the loss of wildlife, and the human impoverishment that always resulted were related to the way people made decisions, whether or not those people lived or worked on the land.

Exiled as a result of his opposition to the ruling Rhodesian party, Savory immigrated to the United States where he co-founded the Center for Holistic Management with his wife, Jody Butterfield, in 1984. He left that organization in 2009 to form the Savory Institute, headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which works with people around the world to heal damaged land and increase the productivity of working lands by applying the Holistic Management principles.

The Holistic Management Framework

At its core, the Holistic Management Framework uses a concept known as a holisticgoal to guide decision making. The holisticgoal ties people's desired way of life, based on what they value most deeply (materially and spiritually), to the ecosystems and resources that support their vision. All actions and decisions are tested to determine whether or not they will help reach the established holisticgoal. Testing and management guidelines, planning procedures and a feedback loop assure constant monitoring of the success of decisions.

The Holistic Management Framework also considers the key role that animals play in renewing the land, and recognizes the nature and importance of four basic ecosystem processes: the water cycle, the mineral cycle, energy flow, and community dynamics (the relationship between organisms in an ecosystem). The Framework identifies eight tools for managing these ecosystem processes: human creativity, technology, rest, fire, grazing, animal impact, living organisms, and money and labor.

Holistic Management in Print

In 1999, Savory and Jody Butterfield co-authored, Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision-Making (Island Press). The book describes Savory’s effort to find workable solutions which ordinary people could implement to overcome many of the problems besetting communities and businesses today.

See also


Savory, Allan; Jody Butterfield (1998-12-01) [1988] (in English). Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision Making (2nd ed. ed.). Washington, D.C.: Island Press. ISBN 1-55963-487-1.  

External links



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