Third Key Insight: The Predator-Prey Relationship

During his time as a wildlife biologist in Africa, Allan Savory watched the movements of large herds of game animals. He noticed how they moved when a predator was in the area­—they bunched together for safety and milled around, trampling the plants and soil beneath them. In that process, they broke up the soil, trampled down old, gray stems and leaves, scattered seeds and covered them over with soil, dung and urine. They essentially returned dead plant parts to the surface where they could decay and helped plant new grasses, simply by their behavior. In addition, the microorganisms missing from the soil surface in brittle environments could be found in the stomachs of the herding animals.

The predator-prey connection kept vast regions of grasslands in sound condition for millions of years. Over time, whenever the predator-prey relationship was damaged the herd quickly relaxed and spread out, often breaking into smaller herds. The density fell and consequently the animals remained on a piece of land much longer. Soon after human management was imposed, land health and productivity began to decline, often rapidly.

Third Key Insight: In brittle environments packs of herding animals moved naturally when pack-hunting predators were present. These movement patterns helped maintain the land they inhabited.

In Holistic Management we properly manage livestock by mimicking the predator-prey relationship through Holistic Planned Grazing, which allows a manager to have livestock in the right place, at the right time, for the right reason, and with the right behavior.

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