Holistic Management was developed by Zimbabwean-born ecologist Allan Savory following a lengthy personal search for solutions to the land deterioration occurring in Africa and the human impoverishment that always resulted.
In the 1960s he made a significant breakthrough in understanding what was causing the desertification of the world’s grassland ecosystems and, as a resource management consultant, worked with numerous managers, eventually on four continents, to develop sustainable solutions.
Today, Holistic Management is practiced by tens of thousands of people in many countries and contexts. One source calculates as many as 12 million hectares (30 million acres) under Holistic Management.
Its biggest impact, however, has been on the rangelands and grasslands of the seasonal rainfall environments – about two-thirds of the world’s land surface – which is where the large herds of wild herbivores originated and where they have for the most part disappeared.
Livestock can be used to mimic the role these herds once played in maintaining ecosystem health, which is what the holistic grazing planning process was designed to do.
In these environments, as well as others, however, the key to success lies in the everyday decisions people make to satisfy immediate needs. Ideally, they want to do that in ways that assure their continued well being, and the well being of future generations. The holistic decision making process enables them to do that by ensuring the actions they take in meeting those needs enhance the well-being of the environment that sustains them now and in the future.