Managing Ecosystem Processes

To be the most successful in anything we need to consider all the tools available to us. In managing land, people typically think of tools as the technologies available such as farm machinery, irrigation equipment, computers, etc., but in Holistic Management we also refer to the use of:

  • Fire
  • Rest
  • Grazing
  • Animal Impact
  • Living Organisms

However, none of those work alone—they all require the involvement of a combination of human creativity, money, and labor. This is important to note, because it means that as a manager we have to make deliberate decisions to use a tool or tools in a certain way, at a given time, for a specified duration.

Wherever you are on the planet, every management action you take will involve at least one (and perhaps more) of the three primary tools of human creativity, money, and labor, and one or more of the secondary tools of grazing, animal impact, fire, rest living organisms, and technology.

For many years, grazing and animal impact weren't recognized as tools that significantly influence the health of the ecosystem or have only seen those tools in a negative light. It also should be noted that no fire lit by man is natural nor is resting land. This statement doesn't condemn the use of fire or rest as tools, but reminds us to merely consider all these tools as we work to have our lives reflect our choices.

When managing holistically no tool is regarded as good or bad, though when considering our context and our degree of brittleness we can we begin to judge whether a particular tool used in a particular way is suitable or unsuitable in that particular situation, at that time. The holistic decision-making process helps you determine when and how best to apply the tools within the whole you manage.

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