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.

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.

Utah Mountain Goat Statewide Management Plan

“The National Parks Service is on a mission to eradicate wild goats from Teton and Yellowstone Parks, based on “competition”. Utah disagrees with their premise.   Quoting Utah’s goat management plan, “Even where both (bighorn […]

Desert Aerators in Mexico

Where brush has grown into small trees, crushing the growth is a plausible alternative to poison.   NOTE: this post was originally published on March 22, 2017   Aerators can sometimes work where grades or […]

Conserving the Legacy by Wyman Meizner

“The outstanding scientific discovery of the twentieth century is not television, or radio, but rather the complexity of the land organism.   Only those who know the most about it can appreciate how little we […]

The Rise of Aquaculture and the Threat of Floating Feedlots

Aquaculture was once thought to be the key to saving wild fish stocks. As discussed in the article below, it turns out to be fraught with unintended consequences.  

Groups Call for Reintroduction of Jaguars in US Southwest

As described in the article below, advocates of jaguar restoration “contend that reintroducing the cats is essential to species conservation and restoration of the region’s ecosystem”.   The advocates are correct. Habitat and wildlife restoration […]

Biodiversity and Holistic Management

These excellent thoughts on the importance of biodiversity apply to wildlife as well as agriculture.  

Healing the Land with One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts

Healing the Land with One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts” is an inspirational short film that discusses regenerative agricultural practices on a Georgia farm.   This dying farm was regenerated using multi-species grazing in which all […]

Fuel, Fire, and Wild Horses

Wildfire continues to devastate the American West at increasing rates. According to some, the plan that could combat the danger of forest fire lies in the complicated history and present role of the wild horse. […]

Tasmanian Devils Born on Australian Mainland for First Time in 3,000 Years

These animals probably disappeared from the Australian mainland in large part due to human impact. They will likely thrive when reintroduced – if they are protected.   America also has species that were successfully reintroduced […]

Plug and Spread Made Easy

This is a 4-1/2 minute video about the “Plug-and-Spread” method of harvesting water from gullies. Water harvesting including Plug and Spread, in combination with Keyline sub-soiling, wild animal impact and planned grazing of cattle are […]

Drought Busters 101 : A 21-Minute Video on Desert Grassland Restoration

“Drought Busters” is an inexpensive, quick, physiologically and economically sustainable method of habitat and wildlife restoration. We call it Drought Busters because it increases effective rainfall by rebuilding soil fertility and the soil’s ability to […]

Holistic Management at Work

Holistic management uses a long term planning process that assigns to environmental and social outcomes the same importance as profits.  In addition to being particularly suited to the deserts of far-West Texas, its grazing and […]

Using Cows to Improve Wildlife Habitat and Increase Pronghorn

This is the second in a series about how domestic animals like cattle can help wildlife and habitat in desert grasslands.  Our first introduced Cows and Quail, Albuquerque-based Holistic Management International’s range and wildlife program […]

Aspen Forests Provide Great Habitat for Ruffed Grouse

“Ruffed grouse – and all species –  do better in mixed (partially-logged) forests.  

Grazing Naturally, by Dick Richardson, with Remarks by Allan Savory

“Holistic Management International (HMI) published the article below by Dick Richardson, describing a better grazing system.  I asked Allan Savory, HMI’s founder, what he thought of it.    Dick Richardson’s article, and Allan Savory’s response, […]