Our Philosophy

Biodiversity = sustainability.

To date scientists have described 1.7 million of the world's species of animals, plants, insects and algae—and they’ve not all been described…or discovered. The number, while vast, is less important than the point it makes: nature requires diversity.

Ecosystems and food chains are intricately woven from a wide variety of plants, animals and soil life that have evolved and adapted to their specific location. Diversity of life, known as biodiversity, provides an insurance policy against uncertainty. For instance, a drought descends. Some plants can tolerate the intermittent dryness better than others. Those that do continue to provide food and cover during the extreme period, helping sustain the wildlife.

Biodiversity also ensure necessary relationships exist. Pollinators and plants. Predators and prey. Even legumes and nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil. When those vital relationships function optimally, the overall health of the attendant ecosystem is elevated.

Biodiversity minimizes risk and increases sustainability. A monoculture, whether in production agriculture or in a pasture of introduced grass, is a weak link in life’s chain. A single disease. A single catastrophe. A single drought can wipe it from the earth’s face without a replacement.

First at Circle Ranch and now at Pitchstone Waters, we manage by maximizing biodiversity. It’s good for production, it’s good for the bottom line and it’s good for the planet.

In our world, we don’t label a species “good” or “bad.” We’ve come to understand all species can play a role in a healthy environment if—and it’s a big if—they are in balance.

As a result, we focus on the big picture. We truthfully assess where the land and the wildlife are now, using proven scientific methods and ongoing observation to ground our findings in truth. Then, we determine where we want the land and the wildlife to be in the future, striking a balance between the needs of the species as well as ecological and economic necessity.

Holistic management, the process of looking at the whole picture, is not a quick fix but a series of slow, measured steps toward healthier and better. Quite honesty, there are often missteps along the way. The beauty of paying close attention, though, is that you notice things going wrong before permanent damage is done.

Nature didn’t put all of her biological eggs in one basket—and neither do we.

Wildlife and habitat only prosper when their ecosystem is in balance.

First at Circle Ranch and now at Pitchstone Waters, we manage by maximizing biodiversity. It’s good for production, it’s good for the bottom line and it’s good for the planet. In our world, we don’t label a species “good” or “bad.” We’ve come to understand all species can play a role in a healthy environment if—and it’s a big if—they are in balance.

Holistic Management

Is a value-based decision-making framework that integrates all aspects of planning for social, economic and environmental considerations.

Industrial Agriculture

Efficiencies gained through chemical fertilizers and pesticides, allowing fewer people to produce more livestock and crops, intensifying and industrializing agriculture.

Institutions

Over time institutions—land grant universities, state and federal conservation agencies, NGOs and grassroots conservation organizations and big business—have become as inextricably linked as the ecosystems they explore, manage and regulate.

Invasive Species Biology

Since the beginning of time, species have spread and contracted their ranges. A variety of factors including weather and climate influenced their spread and movement.

During the Drought

In low rain areas, maintaining plant coverage through periodic planned grazing and limited mechanized soil disruption are basic principles of regenerative farming and regenerative grazing. These work wonders for cows, crops and wildlife.   NOTE: […]

Desert Bighorn, Mule Deer and Cougar in High Desert Mountains of Far-West Texas

Desert Mountain Wildlife #2 – part of a series on wildlife pictures was taken in Winter 2017, at Circle Ranch in the Sierra Diablo Mountains of far-West Texas. The series contains many wildlife photos, and, […]

Not Quite Right – Not All Herbivores Are The Same

More thoughts on how – and why –  wild horses can improve habitat and reduce wildfire.  

Grand Teton National Park Hopes Collaboration, Not Closures, Will Protect Bighorn Sheep

According to the “experts” quoted below, backcountry skiers threaten bighorn sheep numbers.   This is contrary to our hands-on, 20-year experience with the desert bighorn sheep in far-West Texas. If humans don’t harass them, bighorn […]

Far-West Texas Mountain Wildlife 1

First in a series of game camera photos taken in Winter, 2017.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on May 22, 2017  

‘Silver Bullet’ for Business: The Aussie Farmers Bringing Dingoes Back

As discussed below, restoring predators in the Australian outback has had very positive effects on habitat and animals.  

The Unconventional Weapon Against Future Wildfires: Goats

Appearing below is an excellent article on goats and wildfire control. Goats have worked very well for us at Pitchstone Waters in Idaho, as discussed extensively in this blog.  

An Introduction to Holistic Management

A short introduction to sustainable grazing.  

Why Beavers Were Parachuted Into the Idaho Wilderness 73 Years Ago

Parachuting beavers – Jump ahead to 7:20 to see how the Idaho Fish and Game Department relocated beavers using parachutes. The department made this 14-minute film in the 1950s to show how fur-bearing animals are […]

Can Sheep Save the Planet?

“Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” states Allan Savory in his quiet but inspirational form.   NOTE: this post was originally published on May 10, 2017   Desertification is […]

Support for Mitigating Catastrophic Wildfire Damage and Environmental CWD Contamination Using Wild Horse Grazing

“Three seemingly unsolvable problems facing forest, range and wildlife managers are (1) increasing numbers and severity of wildfires, (2) the relentless spread of CWD, and (3) what to do about wild horses. What if a […]

Desert Permaculture: Gulleys for Grass and Wells

Here is a gulley treatment that restores grassland and recharges aquifers.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on May 8, 2017.   Gulleys for Grassland Restoration from Christopher Gill on Vimeo.

Prince Charles: How Cattle Can Restore Habitat and Wildlife

“Prince Charles comments on Allan Savory and his integrated approach to ranching and farming, and the role ruminants for the health of grasslands. Segment from speech given by the Prince to the IUCN World Conservation […]

It’s the Largest Living Organism on Earth, and It’s Hiding in Plain Sight in Utah

“The largest – and possibly oldest – living organism.  

The Story of Meat

Public demand for healthy, tasty food produced in a manner that respects nature is the driving force behind the growing acceptance of holistic agriculture. This 20-minute video discusses how sustainably managed livestock can help restore damaged […]

Desert Permaculture: Using a Stock Tank for Irrigation

Stock tanks can be easily and cheaply modified to serve the additional purpose of restoring grasslands for cattle and wildlife.   NOTE: this post was originally published on April 24, 2017   

How Bison Are Saving America’s Lost Prairie

Bison on Oklahoma’s tall grass prairie.  

Miracle in the Nevada Desert

Beaver and cattle are symbiotic. Together they can turn desert into wetlands.   NOTE: this post was originally published on April 19, 2017. 

A Few Pretty Horses: BLM, Critics Butt Heads Over Idaho Mustang Management

“Quoting the authors below, “Wild horse advocates note that, while horses died out in North America more than 10,000 years ago, they evolved here. Horses aren’t an invasive species, they say, just a re-introduced one.” […]

Plow and Tractor for Desert Grassland Keyline Subsoiling

What plow and tractor combination is most cost effective for restoring desert grassland with Keyline water practices? We call our method of desert grassland restoration Drought Busters. It combines: (1) subsoil plowing, (2) water harvesting […]

Can Beavers Restore Far-West Texas?

Two so-called invasive species, cattle and beavers, have the power to restore desert habitats.   NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on April 12, 2017.