The Resistance to Holistic Wildlife Management

Across the West as well as in Texas, agencies, universities, governmental and conservation organizations resist holistic wildlife and agricultural management practices. Most Western public grazing rules make holistic grazing very difficult if not impossible  In this 5-minute video, range scientist Allan Savory discusses why this is so, and how this resistance might be overcome.


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  • I received this comment from a respected wildlife practitioner:


    Hello – I hope you are doing well and enjoying life.

    You will be happy to learn that the highest conservation award in the state – The Leopold Award was given last week to Dixon Water Foundation who is practicing a very high and pure form of planned grazing on all of their ranches. I’m sure you know Clint Josey. The award was given by TPWD and endorsed by individuals from NRCS, AgriLife and several private conservation organizations. So not all agencies and organizations are resisting holistic management. I think that many groups, universities and individuals do resist Allan and his know-it-all attitude and his harsh criticism of those who do not agree with him. But I see quite a bit of acceptance of the ecological principles of planned grazing, when it is carried out intelligently. Another reason why many resist that form of grazing is that they have seen it poorly applied with terrible results.


    To which I replied:

    Thank you, I appreciate your remarks.

    Yes, I know and admire Clint Josey and Robert Potts. And let us not forget Mr. Dixon. Dixon water foundation is doing important work. I am pleased with their recognition in part because it legitimizes those who for years been dismissed by Big Wildlife as unscientific crackpots. Also, let us acknowledge Dixon’s willingness to lend their name to raise money for TPWD through this vehicle. It is consistent with their very constructive mindset.

    Perhaps next year the award should go to Allan Savory himself? After all, Allan’s stubborn courage in facing down the universities, agencies, and conservation organizations for 50-years is in my opinion inspirational. He has almost single-handedly started a movement towards better range practices. Holistic wildlife thinking goes far beyond cattle, because, once you start thinking about holistic planned cattle practices that restore plants and water function to degraded land, you are inevitably drawn into the wildlife and habitat discussion. So he is, in my opinion, a wildlife leader worthy of comparison to Aldo Leopold.

    Planned grazing is accepted by TPWD? Correct me if I am mistaken but no grazing is practiced or permitted on parks or wildlife management areas (WMAs) controlled by TPWD, anywhere in far-West Texas.

    Aldo Leopold’s principles are being followed? In far-West Texas, Big Wildlife including TPWD removes bison, elk, burros, aoudad, llamas, alpacas, cattle, horses, cougar, coyotes, foxes from these areas to reduce ‘invasive species’ ‘competition’ with pronghorn, bighorn and deer. At the Sierra Diablo WMA, next door to Circle Ranch mule deer does are removed at a rate that if practiced countywide would wipe out the herd.

    The public lavishes funding upon a scientific community, which it reasonably expects will conduct itself scientifically. Fake science cannot be justified by Allan’s alleged personality defects. We all have our rough edges and loose ends, and anyway, thousands of us have been saying the same stuff for years, to organizations that remain watertight to holistic wildlife thinking. I started the Circle Ranch blog because I was one of those people and was tired writing letters that no one read.

    One last point as to the alleged failures of planned grazing: The problem is that when its physiological insights are applied without planning they will eventually fail. Moreover, I can say from my own analysis that most of the ‘planned grazing’ the ‘experts’ have studied and declared to have failed, was no such thing.

    I always value your comments, and wish that everyone thought like you do.

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