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Old 21st May 2014, 12:01 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Excellent, thanks for that. McWilliams is always a good debunker of food/enviro woo.
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Old 21st May 2014, 12:04 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
OK Great! Nice post Scrut. This is a good time to teach you how to use critical thinking skills to pick apart a biased propaganda blog.

Quote:
(To put that claim in perspective, note that the Earth’s oceans and plants currently absorb only half of the 7 billion metric tons of carbon that human activities release into the atmosphere each year.)
False statement. Actually, the estimated total absorption by vegetation alone is ~ 123 PgC/yr. They substituted a net value where gross values should have been used. Very common propaganda technique. Sets up a scale in the subconscious that makes the problem appear larger than it is. It is already a huge problem to begin with. But doing that makes it appear impossibly large.

Quote:
...“Eat MORE meat?” ... The takeaway was clear: If you’re interested in saving the planet, sharpen your steak knives.
No, Not necessarily more meat animals. Simply a change in the way they are raised. What it really means is closing down the environmentally destructive industrial CAFO system and exchanging it with a pasture based system instead. Not necessarily more, just raised and fed differently.

Quote:
The most systematic research trial supporting Savory’s claims, the Charter Grazing Trials, was undertaken in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe today) between 1969 and 1975.
Completely false. Those trials were the earliest developmental phase of his system, long before his idea of adding the science of holism to that land management. They don't have much at all to to with Holistic management because Holistic management wasn't even developed yet. Savory as a scientist back then was still experimenting with and working out the biophysical reactions of rangeland to animal impact. Holistic management came decades later. The same fallacy of claiming short duration and holistic management are the same are also found in the Holechek articles the blog references.

Quote:
“Savory’s method won’t scale.”
Oh, you mean it doesn't really fit the current industrial model that has caused such huge destruction to the environment? Gee. Even if that were true that it can't scale, (it isn't) and what? We are discussing land management that is good for the environment, not necessarily what may or may not be good for large scale industrialists in the food industry.

Quote:
Cows live up to 20 years of age, but in most grass-fed systems, they are removed when they reach slaughter weight at 15 months. Cheating the nutrient cycle at the heart of land regeneration by removing the manure-makers and grass hedgers when only 10 percent of their ecological “value” has been exploited undermines the entire idea of efficiency that Savory spent his TED talk promoting.
Extreme example of ignorance. The amount of biomass consumed by cattle, and thus the nutrient cycling caused by their grazing is orders of magnitude larger than the weight of a cow. First off the conversion rate of biomass to meat varies from 5:1 to 20:1. In pastured livestock, that means instead of the irrelevant 10% claimed in the blog, nutrient cycling is actually as high as 2000% the weight of the animal, not including the mother cow that bore the meat animal which does usually live 20 years or more. But there is more. Holistic managed grazing never takes more than approx 40% of the above ground biomass, laying much on the ground as mulch. That is recycled by other organisms in the processes of decay. But there is more. There is a much larger underground community in the Rhizosphere that dwarfs what is happening above ground. Even the insect community hugely outweighs the livestock. This so called "concern" is actually trivial and easily outweighed by natural nutrient cycling. Just a red herring.

Quote:
In many desert ecosystems, desert grasses evolved not alongside large animals but in concert with desert tortoises, mice, rats, rabbits, and reptiles.
No. Not grassland. Grassland co-evolved with large herbivores. Some deserts may have evolved without grasslands and with different herbivores, but grasslands/savannas and large herbivores co-evolved together. That's working backwards and thinking that the current state with large herbivores removed due to human impact is the state they were when the ecosystem was evolving. Big fallacy.

Quote:
In 1990, Savory admitted that attempts to reproduce his methods had led to “15 years of frustrating and eratic [sic] results.” But he refused to accept the possibility that his hypothesis was flawed. Instead, Savory said those erratic results “were not attributable to the basic concept being wrong but were always due to management.”
Correct. That's the developmental phase discussed earlier. You think Edison developed the light bulb on his first try? So why would this blog use Charter Grazing Trials done between 1969 and 1975 as proof it doesn't work, when that was early developmental stages and experiments?

Quote:
...we have long known: There’s no such thing as a beef-eating environmentalist.
And there is the clincher. Finally the blogger lets their guard down and exposes their real agenda. The elimination of beef eating. Discovering an environmental technique that includes beef goes contrary to their preconceived ideas, their whole world view.
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Old 21st May 2014, 12:24 PM   #43
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tl;dr
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Old 21st May 2014, 12:26 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
OK Great! Nice post Scrut. This is a good time to teach you how to use critical thinking skills to pick apart a biased propaganda blog.



False statement. Actually, the estimated total absorption by vegetation alone is ~ 123 PgC/yr. They substituted a net value where gross values should have been used.



No, Not necessarily more meat animals. Simply a change in the way they are raised. What it really means is closing down the environmentally destructive industrial CAFO system and exchanging it with a pasture based system instead. Not necessarily more, just raised and fed differently.



Completely false. Those trials were the earliest developmental phase of his system, long before his idea of adding the science of holism to that land management. They don't have much at all to to with Holistic management because Holistic management wasn't even developed yet. Savory as a scientist back then was still experimenting with and working out the biophysical reactions of rangeland to animal impact. Holistic management came decades later. The same fallacy of claiming short duration and holistic management are the same are also found in the Holechek articles the blog references.



Oh, you mean it doesn't really fit the current industrial model that has caused such huge destruction to the environment? Gee. Even if that were true that it can't scale, (it isn't) and what? We are discussing land management that is good for the environment, not necessarily what may or may not be good for large scale industrialists in the food industry.

Extreme example of ignorance. The amount of biomass consumed by cattle, and thus the nutrient cycling caused by their grazing is orders of magnitude larger than the weight of a cow. First off the conversion rate of biomass to meat varies from 5:1 to 20:1. In pastured livestock, that means instead of the irrelevant 10% claimed in the blog, nutrient cycling is actually as high as 2000% the weight of the animal, not including the mother cow that bore the meat animal which does usually live 20 years or more. But there is more. Holistic managed grazing never takes more than approx 40% of the above ground biomass, laying much on the ground as mulch. That is recycled by other organisms in the processes of decay. But there is more. There is a much larger underground community in the Rhizosphere that dwarfs what is happening above ground. Even the insect community hugely outweighs the livestock. This so called "concern" is actually trivial and easily outweighed by natural nutrient cycling. Just a red herring.

No. Not grassland. Grassland co-evolved with large herbivores. Some deserts may have evolved without grasslands and with different herbivores, but grasslands/savannas and large herbivores co-evolved together.



Correct. That's the developmental phase discussed earlier. You think Edison developed the light bulb on his first try? So why would this blog use Charter Grazing Trials done between 1969 and 1975 as proof it doesn't work, when that was early developmental stages and experiments?

And there is the clincher. Finally the blogger lets their guard down and exposes their real agenda. The elimination of beef eating. Discovering an environmental technique that includes beef goes contrary to their preconceived ideas, their whole world view.
Maybe you could outline just what you are talking about when you say holistic management?

You seemed to base it a lot the Charter Grazing Trials now you say they were preliminary trials so what is the plan?

From the link:

Instead, there were problems during the Charter Grazing Trials, ones not mentioned in Savory’s dramatic talk. Cattle that grazed according to Savory’s method needed expensive supplemental feed, became stressed and fatigued, and lost enough weight to compromise the profitability of their meat. And even though Savory’s Grazing Trials took place during a period of freakishly high rainfall, with rates exceeding the average by 24 percent overall, the authors contend that Savory’s method “failed to produce the marked improvement in grass cover claimed from its application.”
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Old 21st May 2014, 12:32 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Maybe you could outline just what you are talking about when you say holistic management?
Holistic management
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Old 21st May 2014, 12:42 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
tl;dr
Typical! And you call yourself a critical thinker? Now you are back to dismissing something away with a hand wave, but instead of dismissing it due to the connotation evoked by the equivocation fallacy of its name, this time you are dismissing it due to what? The post is too long? Can't be bothered to even read it? Really? And you called yourself a critical thinker in post #33?
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Old 21st May 2014, 12:59 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Those of us who are critical thinkers know that anything with the word "holistic" attached is most likely nonsense.
Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
Excellent, thanks for that. McWilliams is always a good debunker of food/enviro woo.
Yep, I think we can now safely add "holistic grazing" to the list.
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Old 21st May 2014, 01:02 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
Reading that re-reminded me of the fact that RBF also had a difficult (more like impossible) time understanding that the purpose of the BLM'S management is/was not sustainable grazing, but the maintenance of a bio-system-that being a health desert environment, not a grasslands-which the rainfall in that environment would never support anyway
..
I can envision the response now...

Originally Posted by HLM Apologist
But!
But!

Holistic Grazing is MAGICAL and can TURN dessert into fertile land just by having cattle eat the vegetation in the right way.

It HAS to be the right way, or you're doing it wrong. Anytime it fails it's because the rancher is having their cattle doing it wrong!!!!
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Old 21st May 2014, 01:08 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by halleyscomet View Post
I can envision the response now...
Nope :crickets:

It's a blind spot ignored by the homeopathic holistic grazers
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Old 21st May 2014, 01:29 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
Reading that re-reminded me of the fact that RBF also had a difficult (more like impossible) time understanding that the purpose of the BLM'S management is/was not sustainable grazing, but the maintenance of a bio-system-that being a health desert environment, not a grasslands-which the rainfall in that environment would never support anyway
..
Originally Posted by halleyscomet View Post
I can envision the response now...
Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
Nope :crickets:

It's a blind spot ignored .....
Actually I did respond. I just didn't think I needed to repeat it for you. I even added a bit in edit for clarification because your post was made while I was responding to Scrut and his posting of a propaganda blog.

Quote:
No. Not grassland. Grassland co-evolved with large herbivores. Some deserts may have evolved without grasslands and with different herbivores, but grasslands/savannas and large herbivores co-evolved together. That's working backwards and thinking that the current state with large herbivores removed due to human impact is the state they were when the ecosystem was evolving. Big fallacy.
Now, for even more clarification so that it is in specific terms instead of general terms. That land was a Joshua tree Savanna. You are looking at the currently degraded state and assuming that even resembles at all the state of the land before human impact. It doesn't. The average 5 inches of rainfall combined with low humidity and migrating wild herds is most certainly enough to possibly be restored. But without the migrating herds, or livestock to mimic that impact? Then the best you can hope for is desert scrub-land subject to catastrophic fires every few years.

AND....all that was posted on the other thread too btw. Not ignored and you know it.
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Old 21st May 2014, 01:52 PM   #51
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Amazingly, a Google search for
Herbivores "Joshua Tree" savanna
Yields one mention of anything bigger than an iguana with all 3 terms in it
. That reference is RBF's post above
...
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Old 21st May 2014, 02:27 PM   #52
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And elsewhere on JREF it's being vigorously argued that adopting a vegan lifstyle is the way to lower atmospheric CO2 and, hence, the global warming trend.
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Old 21st May 2014, 02:57 PM   #53
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From the section on "Framework" in the Wikipedia article above:

"One of the best examples of an early indicator of a poorly functioning environment is patches of bare ground."

On a golf course, yes. Otherwise, I disagree. Bare ground is a vital component of rangeland condition. Blanket statements like the above without any reference to scale make it difficult to discuss HM without the possibility of proclaiming that it works wherever it works and they "they did it wrong" wherever it doesn't.
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Old 21st May 2014, 03:05 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
And elsewhere on JREF it's being vigorously argued that adopting a vegan lifstyle is the way to lower atmospheric CO2 and, hence, the global warming trend.
I think the only people who could possibly argue against the claim that a vegan diet requires less fossil fuel use would be people who are deeply, deeply irrational. It's just a fact about the world.

In the big picture it's horrendously inefficient to grow grain or hay, feed it to an animal and eat the animal. You could just have grown some grain/legume/vegetable/whatever that humans eat and then eaten the whatever.

There are going to be individual cases where it's easier to raise cattle for meat. If you happen to be a nomad on grassland, or own a very rocky paddock which is impractical to plow, or you live on a mountain, then quite possibly in those cases cows, sheep, goats or whatever will be a way of converting plant matter that humans just cannot eat into meat that we can eat (and milk, leather etc.) for a net energy gain.

Modern industrialised farming with its major inputs of hay and grain, however, is very far indeed from such a case. It's a luxury industry producing highly palatable food products people like, but it is an enormous energy sink, it's arguably an ethical evil, and it's a simple matter of fact that it does not produce anything people need.

It might not be THE way to lower carbon emissions, but it's A way and a potentially very effective way. At the very least if people substantially reduced the amount of meat in their diet it would enable us to substantially reduce our carbon emissions.
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Old 21st May 2014, 03:42 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Lowe View Post
I think the only people who could possibly argue against the claim that a vegan diet requires less fossil fuel use would be people who are deeply, deeply irrational. It's just a fact about the world.
Aren't you exaggerating? Ignorant of those specific facts would suit better.

Anyway, as you said, no substantial reduction of greenhouse gas emissions come from a "veganization" of the diet. In a typical "energy starving" country, each person needs some 2,000 kcal a day in food but spends some 200,000. Of course, a meat rich diet may use some 30,000 kcal in producing, transporting, conserving and cooking such food, while a vegan who buys local may use 8,000. However, a great deal of that energy is from renewable sources, photosynthesis for instance, unlike what that person uses to transport him or herself.

Back to the HM thing, the problem from the very beginning was RBF disembarking in forum.randi.org's sandy beaches with the good news of HM being kind of an all-purpose cure, and arguing in a pretty innumerate way about that. I remember the most important questions I asked him then, which went this way: show us how we can recover our soils, curb global warming and feed mankind at the same time.

His replies were isolated claims, number poor, about some carbon capture here, some soil quality reached there, thru papers only partially related to the claims, in the most asystemic possible way. Their figure poverty is an attempt on management. Their systematic lack of systemic view about the whole subject is an attempt on holism.
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Old 21st May 2014, 03:46 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
And elsewhere on JREF it's being vigorously argued that adopting a vegan lifstyle is the way to lower atmospheric CO2 and, hence, the global warming trend.
AHA Not entirely false. See the current industrial model for meat production is in fact a major contributor to all sorts of ecological harm including global warming. Even primitive subsistence methods can be destructive as well.

A Vegan would take a direct approach and say eliminate it. Just eliminate all livestock world wide. Problem solved.

Savory would say change the production model of that livestock and use them to restore the environment instead of destroy it. Problem solved.

If it turns out that Holistic management really is too difficult a concept for society to understand, I'd go for the Vegan approach before I'd continue on the destructive path with the industrial model we are on now.

The status quo really is unacceptable. I'll agree with the Vegans there.

ETA FYI And no, I am not a vegetarian or vegan.
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Old 21st May 2014, 04:51 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by The Shrike View Post
From the section on "Framework" in the Wikipedia article above:

"One of the best examples of an early indicator of a poorly functioning environment is patches of bare ground."

On a golf course, yes. Otherwise, I disagree. Bare ground is a vital component of rangeland condition. Blanket statements like the above without any reference to scale make it difficult to discuss HM without the possibility of proclaiming that it works wherever it works and they "they did it wrong" wherever it doesn't.
Actually that's a framework and you are drawing specific conclusions from a non specific example. Actually at the learning center, they do leave patches bare on purpose. How? Simply keeping the livestock off those areas. Savory discusses it here: Excerpted from Allan Savory's presentation on January 25, 2013 at Tufts University's Fletcher School

Quote:
What we are doing is preserving some bare ground for wildlife, because we want to increase the whole biodiversity and these bare areas are terribly critical.......
So yes Shrike you are correct, and Savory would agree just as emphatically.
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Old 21st May 2014, 06:23 PM   #58
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^But what I shared was a direct quote from the link you provided to show what it's all about.

I think one of my issues with it is the No True Scotsman fallacy. When a question about some tenet is raised the response is very often some form of "well that's not what it is" or "what you're talking about is very much in line with HM".

It's all so vague that proponents have remarkable latitude to promote the alleged merits and deflect criticisms willy-nilly.
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Old 21st May 2014, 06:25 PM   #59
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What RBF thinks is a savanna

compared to what a "Joshua Tree Savanna" actually looks like...

And BTW---the historic range maps for North American herbivores do not include any significant parts of the Mojave desert, Nevada particularly.
Bison avoided it, as did even the Pronghorns... So no herbivorse of any significance--and no grasses...
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Old 21st May 2014, 07:09 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by The Shrike View Post
^But what I shared was a direct quote from the link you provided to show what it's all about.

I think one of my issues with it is the No True Scotsman fallacy. When a question about some tenet is raised the response is very often some form of "well that's not what it is" or "what you're talking about is very much in line with HM".

It's all so vague that proponents have remarkable latitude to promote the alleged merits and deflect criticisms willy-nilly.
^^This^^

I see lots of vague feel good words but how they translate into actions is unclear.

Nature functions as a holistic community with a mutualistic relationship between people, animals and the land. If you remove or change the behavior of any keystone species like the large grazing herds, you have an unexpected and wide ranging negative impact on other areas of the environment.


The bottom line is rain, if you have it fine, if you don't chanting "holistic" will not help.

As has been pointed out many areas never had any large grazing herds so how can any kind of grazing help the land?

Holistic management would seem to involve keeping cattle in pens and moving them around a lot.
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Old 21st May 2014, 07:17 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
The bottom line is rain, if you have it fine, if you don't chanting "holistic" will not help.
Wait... what? You mean water helps plants to grow?!

ZOMG!!!




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Old 21st May 2014, 08:12 PM   #62
Red Baron Farms
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Originally Posted by The Shrike View Post
^But what I shared was a direct quote from the link you provided to show what it's all about.

I think one of my issues with it is the No True Scotsman fallacy. When a question about some tenet is raised the response is very often some form of "well that's not what it is" or "what you're talking about is very much in line with HM".

It's all so vague that proponents have remarkable latitude to promote the alleged merits and deflect criticisms willy-nilly.
actually I gave that wiki link which is written in summary style when asked for an outline.
Quote:
Maybe you could outline just what you are talking about when you say holistic management?
It's the best overall outline I can give you without you actually taking a course. And yes, part of your criticism is valid. Since it is adaptive and holistic in nature, the specifics vary just as much as the various ecosystems it is used. So people talk in generalities until a specific plan is made, a plan that varies in every single case. It could vary due to the ecology it is used in, or it could vary due to the goals of the manager, or it could vary due to the tools available. even the technology level and/or education level of the manager. One practitioner in Texas (if I remember correctly), uses planes to herd wild bison. Another in Kenya uses Masai tribesmen to walk and guide the herds. Another uses it to maintain his olive and fruit tree orchards. There couldn't be any more disparity in culture, local ecology, technology, goals etc... Yet all are successful uses of holistic management because all that is taken into consideration when making a plan. Every single plan will be different and every single plan will change constantly as it adapts to the local conditions which also changes constantly.

One of the biggest problems with most grazing systems is they are not adaptive enough. Holistic management has solved that problem using a paradigm borrowed from the military. The problem of no battle plan ever surviving a battle, and the whole "fog of war" is a problem that has been worked on for a very long time. But successful military leaders still have to be able to make good decisions on the fly. Savory borrowed that adaptive management style and added it to his grazing system.

So yeah it's going to sound vague when speaking in generalities. And yes it's going to constantly change. That's part of it. The concept for me was pretty easy to understand because I do that anyway with my crops. No farmer always plants on say April 15th. We say we plant in the spring. The exact day or days we plant depends on a complex set of factors that change constantly. And we absolutely don't harvest 80 day corn exactly 80 days after we plant. So dealing with that "vagueness" comes naturally.
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Old 21st May 2014, 08:36 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by MattusMaximus View Post
Wait... what? You mean water helps plants to grow?!

ZOMG!!!




Absolutely. But more important than rainfall is effective rainfall. It's not what falls from the sky that matters, it's what absorbs into the soil and becomes available to the plants, and how long the soil can hold it before drying out. Anyone that simply tries to give rainfall data and/or rainfall questions, without considering how effective that rainfall is due to soil characteristics and other factors, really hasn't even come close to understanding anything.
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Old 21st May 2014, 09:32 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
One of the biggest problems with most grazing systems is they are not adaptive enough. Holistic management has solved that problem using a paradigm borrowed from the military.
Sounds suspiciously circular to me. Why does HM work? Because it does whatever it is that works. How do you know HM works? Because it does whatever it is that works! What exactly is HM? We can't tell you, because it depends on what will work, but trust us, it works!

Note that you can substitute "good" for "Holistic" in RBF's claims and the circularity becomes obvious. Good management is whatever makes the land do what it is supposed to do, good management varies depending on the situation, and good management is whatever it is that works. What's missing and desperately needed is proof that "good management" and "Holistic Management" are in fact the same thing.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 02:14 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Lowe View Post
Sounds suspiciously circular to me. Why does HM work? Because it does whatever it is that works. How do you know HM works? Because it does whatever it is that works! What exactly is HM? We can't tell you, because it depends on what will work, but trust us, it works!

Note that you can substitute "good" for "Holistic" in RBF's claims and the circularity becomes obvious. Good management is whatever makes the land do what it is supposed to do, good management varies depending on the situation, and good management is whatever it is that works. What's missing and desperately needed is proof that "good management" and "Holistic Management" are in fact the same thing.
There is no missing evidence. Hundreds of millions of acres worldwide on every continent besides Antarctica, and growing every year. What's missing is evidence of HM failures. For that the propaganda blogs typically have to search back decades for even 1 documented example of a temporary setback. Why do you think that propaganda blog used an example from the 1960's and 70's? Ironically even before HM was fully developed. Of course they didn't actually do their homework and check that land now...oops... It is so consistently successful, and based on such strong and sound principles, it is damn near impossible to fail. Even complete novices on their first try out the gates and making many mistakes are making it work consistently. And as their experience grows, so do their results.

There are some of the older certified educators that have taken on ridiculously sounding near impossible challenges over and over, and works every time. Here is one. Check it out. Extreme beyond extreme and still can't make it fail. Convincing evidence

If you were to apply the same requirement of evidence to manned flight, you would have to conclude man can't fly because a plane crashed once somewhere. It's ridiculous.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 05:57 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
No farmer always plants on say April 15th. We say we plant in the spring. The exact day or days we plant depends on a complex set of factors that change constantly. And we absolutely don't harvest 80 day corn exactly 80 days after we plant. So dealing with that "vagueness" comes naturally.
Since you mention farming, I assume you know what crop rotation is? Imagine someone trying to explain it to you as "holistic soil rejuvenation," with no more detail than that. You plant different things to holistically rejuvenate the soil.

What things, you ask? Different things.
No, what things exactly? I can't tell you.
Okay, how does it "rejuvenate" the soil? Holistically.
What's that supposed to mean? "The whole thing."
No, no, what exactly does it do to the soil to "rejuvenate" it? I can't tell you.

Do you see how your average salt of the earth might be a mite dismissive of an argument like that?

Whether your system actually works or not, it sounds sketchy as all hell, exactly the kind of thing most of us have gotten used to dismissing out of hand. You're using keywords which (fairly or no) have been actively used by authentic woo for decades. When challenged, you've been completely unable to explain the idea on your own, and have resorted to posting tons of links to equally wooish anecdotal sites - another warning sign - and challenging the rest of the thread to find instances where it didn't work, dismissing all those raised as not having done it right. To put it bluntly, you've given us no indication that HLM is anything but WOO.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 08:10 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
Absolutely. But more important than rainfall is effective rainfall. It's not what falls from the sky that matters, it's what absorbs into the soil and becomes available to the plants, and how long the soil can hold it before drying out. Anyone that simply tries to give rainfall data and/or rainfall questions, without considering how effective that rainfall is due to soil characteristics and other factors, really hasn't even come close to understanding anything.
When rainfall is measured in ones of inches per year, there is no useful retention near the surface possible, which is why desert plants are so spread out, with very wide (or very deep) root systems, with water retention biological processes, and why crust is so important. Destroy or disrupt that crust, and the biosystem dies. Grazing has a tendency to do just that.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 09:42 AM   #68
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Beelzebuddy,
I kinda get what you are saying. I had a similar stumbling block with cover crop cocktails and living mulches in my crop rotations the first time it was explained to me. I had a lot of questions about it that were always answered in vague ways. Things like what exactly should go in my mixtures? When should they be planted? Things like that. Turns out the reason it was vague is that all you have to do is follow a couple general guidelines and an infinite set of combinations work. They all work. It's nearly impossible to do it wrong. The only "wrong" way is to not do it at all. Yes, there are a few nuances that are extremely rare that occasionally give less than ideal results. If you accidently stumble across one. Monitor, and adjust. As an example: you wouldn't want live cereal rye to ever have a chance to come into contact with growing corn. So baring those few exceptions like that, all the various cover crop cocktails and living mulches work in your crop rotations. The more variety the better. 2 species blends? good, 5 species blends? better still, 20 species blends? better still. I know this also sounds like woo, but the crazier you get with it, the better it works. I don't know if there is a limit or a point of diminishing returns. One would think there must be, but I have not seen it. Another example would be compost. There is no rule it must be this or that. Pretty much any crop residue, plant material or table scraps works. There is an infinite combination that works and they are all good for the soil.

In both the cases above, the reason it is so easy to get them to work, and so hard to get them to fail is that they are natural process. Plants and the symbiotic biology associated with plants likes diversity. The more diversity the better. Dead material tends to decay. It is much harder to stop a compost pile from decomposing than it is to get it to fire up and kick off. It's just how things work.

If you want specific answers about holistic management, you have to first ask specific questions. It doesn't do any good to explain a holistic management plan for a Wisconsin dairy farmer to a chicken farmer in Arkansas, or a wheat farmer in Australia, or a Masai tribesman in Kenya. It can all work. It all has worked. It is hard to get it not to work. But superficially they don't even look similar and the specific plans will all be radically different.

So lets say I am a dairy farmer in Wisconsin. So right off the bat I know I will be using dairy cows as my livestock species, and milk as my cash commodity, and pasture as one of several resources available to me. One goal of course would be to make a profit, or else why do it? I am an American and I don't work for free. So in working up my plan I will start with this: Pastures for profit: A guide to rotational grazing But lets say I am not only interested in profit. Lets say I am also interested in restoring habitat for the native birds in Wisconsin. So I would take that basic plan and adjust it like this: Grassland birds: Fostering habitat using rotational grazing. One by one I will go through all my goals just like the two goals above, defining them and also the resources and tools available to me to attain those goals in the context of the socio-political, market place and economy, and regulatory constraints imposed in Wisconsin.
Once I do all that, then I set up a proactive monitoring schedule. I'll monitor the cows, the pastures, the grassland birds, the product, the business climate. All those will be sorted out and included in the plan.
Now I have all that on paper in a huge spreadsheet or flowchart form. Any part that is interconnected with anything else is all tied together. I have my plan. I start my monitoring. Something will go wrong. It is just a fact. It will happen. I don't know when and I don't know what, but it will happen and I will spot it before it becomes critical due to my monitoring. Then because its all there in all its complexity on paper, I can make adjustments and see how those adjustments will affect the rest of the plan right away and adapt...... Until the next thing goes wrong.... when I adapt again. It is a way to deal with complexity. All biological systems are complex. So you need a systems thinking approach.

Does that kinda give you an idea?
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Old 22nd May 2014, 10:05 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
Does that kinda give you an idea?
Yeah, it's called "good management" or "well managed". There's nothing "holistic" about what you just described and it won't reverse anthropogenic global warming. So you just described something very different from the claims in Savory's TED talk.

(Of course, I expect that you'll now claim that your example is perfectly in line with Savory's statements, but that will simply reinforce for me how vague "holistic management" is.)
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Old 22nd May 2014, 10:09 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
Since you mention farming, I assume you know what crop rotation is? Imagine someone trying to explain it to you as "holistic soil rejuvenation," with no more detail than that. You plant different things to holistically rejuvenate the soil.

What things, you ask? Different things.
No, what things exactly? I can't tell you.
Okay, how does it "rejuvenate" the soil? Holistically.
What's that supposed to mean? "The whole thing."
No, no, what exactly does it do to the soil to "rejuvenate" it? I can't tell you.

Do you see how your average salt of the earth might be a mite dismissive of an argument like that?

Whether your system actually works or not, it sounds sketchy as all hell, exactly the kind of thing most of us have gotten used to dismissing out of hand. You're using keywords which (fairly or no) have been actively used by authentic woo for decades. When challenged, you've been completely unable to explain the idea on your own, and have resorted to posting tons of links to equally wooish anecdotal sites - another warning sign - and challenging the rest of the thread to find instances where it didn't work, dismissing all those raised as not having done it right. To put it bluntly, you've given us no indication that HLM is anything but WOO.
Bingo!!!
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Old 22nd May 2014, 11:31 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by The Shrike View Post
it won't reverse anthropogenic global warming.
And you are confident in that because you have seen the SOC/SOM monitoring results that are universally found on those millions of acres under holistic management? Or you simply refuse to believe the monitoring results because they are "anecdotal"? I mean it is all monitored. That's part of Holistic management. And universally SOC/SOM dramatically increases without fail. If for some reason your monitoring didn't show increasing SOC/SOM then that's one of the proactive monitoring results that would trigger an adaptive change in the planning process that I described above. Even in HM's most primitive forms SOC/SOM is monitored. Rangelands Rehabilitation in Kenya

So how do you explain your conclusion?
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Old 22nd May 2014, 12:03 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
So how do you explain your conclusion?
Modern dairy farms in Wisconsin are likely quite well managed (or would have gone out of business a generation ago) and many provide ample opportunities for native biodiversity, yet atmospheric CO2 continues to rise. Are they not doing it holistically enough?
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Old 22nd May 2014, 01:36 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by The Shrike View Post
Modern dairy farms in Wisconsin are likely quite well managed (or would have gone out of business a generation ago) and many provide ample opportunities for native biodiversity, yet atmospheric CO2 continues to rise. Are they not doing it holistically enough?
Some are some are not. I talked to Dan Undersander on the phone last year. Turns out he is extremely busy, almost run ragged, touring the State and showing people how to do it.

But on a US scale or a world wide scale, any scale large enough to actually have any effect on AGW. Certainly not. Not even close. In the US we are still loosing soil at 10 times the rate it can be replenished and carbon levels in the soil are at all time lows. What was once vast areas of land with SOC levels 10% or more 3 feet or more deep is now 3 inches at 1% or less in many cases. It really is a crisis.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 01:59 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
Does that kinda give you an idea?
Hey RBF,
I'm glad to see that you're now willing to explain more about how this HM works. I am still curious about how you would apply it to restore the Mojave desert and to protect the desert tortoise and other native species there.
WRT to the lot that Clive Bundy's cattle are trespassing on I asked these questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
It is not a function of numbers [of cattle]. It is a function of time and timing.
How is the optimal number [of cattle] determined?
Why is it a given that it is higher than 150 in this case?

Quote:
Quote:
The cattle fulfill the role of biological nutrient recycling, disturbance for reseeding, removal of oxidizing vegetation and laying it to the ground as a protective water holding mulch, pruning, increased soil fertility etc.. If done at the right time and for the right length of time, it will promote new and increased growth of vegetation. Land that holds more vegetation can support both more wildlife and more cattle. More vegetation also is cover for small turtles to hide from predators when they are out of their burrows. The roots of more vegetation adds structure to soil reducing burrow collapses. The added carbon content of the soil retains more water, crucial in a dry area.
How was it determined that these effects overcompensate for damage to tortoises caused by cows?
Given that the desert tortoise prefers desert habitat, why should such a habitat change be assumed to be beneficial?

Quote:
Quote:
Vigorous native vegetation is far less likely to be susceptible to crowding out by invasives.
How do the cows know to invigorate the native plants and not the invasives?

Quote:
Quote:
There is a whole list of reasons, each playing their role as to why cattle managed improperly are destructive to the environment, but cattle grazed properly are healing to the environment. And the difference between proper and improper is not numbers of cattle, it is time and timing.
Was there anything wrong with the timing restrictions that the BLM wanted to impose on Bundy's cattle?
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Old 22nd May 2014, 02:11 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
Reading that re-reminded me of the fact that RBF also had a difficult (more like impossible) time understanding that the purpose of the BLM'S management is/was not sustainable grazing, but the maintenance of a bio-system-that being a health desert environment, not a grasslands-which the rainfall in that environment would never support anyway
..
Don't you see that because one BLM employed scientist publish a paper in 1966 on the the benefits of Rest Rotation grazing Holistic Grazing automatically became the default position for all BLM land management.

Despite the fact that the BLM has employed thousands of scientist who have published hundreds of papers on different LM policy. Despite the fact that not now, not then, and at no point in-between has the BLM said that either RR or HLM was its default or even preferred method of LM. Despite the fact that no where on the BLM website does it endorse either RR or HLM as the best policy.

All evidence to the contrary is from propaganda blogs, pure an simple! HURUMPH!
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Old 22nd May 2014, 02:39 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by The Shrike View Post
Modern dairy farms in Wisconsin are likely quite well managed (or would have gone out of business a generation ago) and many provide ample opportunities for native biodiversity, yet atmospheric CO2 continues to rise. Are they not doing it holistically enough?
I'm going to go with correlation does not equal causation.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 03:58 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by The Shrike View Post
Yeah, it's called "good management" or "well managed". There's nothing "holistic" about what you just described and it won't reverse anthropogenic global warming. So you just described something very different from the claims in Savory's TED talk.
Yup.

Hey RBF, what exact testable claims does "Holistic Management" make? What are the falsification conditions for those claims?
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Old 22nd May 2014, 06:36 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by GnaGnaMan View Post
Hey RBF,
I'm glad to see that you're now willing to explain more about how this HM works. I am still curious about how you would apply it to restore the Mojave desert and to protect the desert tortoise and other native species there.
Well first of all one main difference between the example I gave for Wisconsin and any plan that might be developed for that land in Nevada would be that the basic rotational grazing system Dan Undersander published for dairy cows won't work in that case. Not enough rain and humidity, different species, different product etc... So instead of starting with rotational grazing, you would start with Rest-Rotation grazing (or a slight variation called Selected-rotation). That system was developed for areas in the Western US with seasonal rainfall as low as 5 inches per year, like what is found there. There are actually several systems you could start with BLM Link, but having checked it out for that specific case, Rest-rotation is probably a good starting point. That will increase a healthy plant community, watershed, soil and wildlife habitat, while at the same time increasing livestock production. Then to modify it for the Desert Tortoise you would do a similar adjustment that was seen for the grassland birds in Wisconsin, but instead of those nesting times, you would instead be using the activity and reproduction times associated with the desert tortoise to modify your timing. They are only active 5% of the time, spending 95% of the time in their burrows in a state similar to hibernation. So that gives you plenty of time to adjust. But that 5% is quite critical. Then of course you go back the the holistic management framework and start identifying resources available, tools, goals, socio-economic factors, government regulations etc..and building a plan..same as I discussed above. Then as above developing your monitoring. Much of that plan building will be the same. Only the specifics will vary.
Quote:
WRT to the lot that Clive Bundy's cattle are trespassing on. I asked these questions


How is the optimal number [of cattle] determined?
As a general rule of thumb you would start with ~ 55% of forage removal as a base for determining availability. However, that would be one of those things you monitor and adjust. Certain things you may need to take more to prevent fire and/or because they are invasives you want to suppress, and certain other species you may want to take less. But that's your starting point and it won't be optimal. But from there your monitoring and adjustments of the plan will tend to bring you closer to optimal. Nothing's perfect, but it will be improving.

Quote:
Why is it a given that it is higher than 150 in this case?
Because more forage produced by better management means more available for both wildlife and grazing.


Quote:
How was it determined that these effects overcompensate for damage to tortoises caused by cows?
Given that the desert tortoise prefers desert habitat, why should such a habitat change be assumed to be beneficial?
HM won't magically create more rain. What it will do however is more effectively use that water. It will still remain dry arid conditions (except the riparian areas will become more wet and water will flow longer), but with more forage for the tortoise, and more protective cover to help prevent predation of the young and better soil structure for their burrows.


Quote:
How do the cows know to invigorate the native plants and not the invasives?
They don't. That requires man's intervention to force them to overgraze invasives and undesirable woody growth susceptible to fires, while not overgrazing the restored desirable native species returning. There are several principles that can be used, like for example; the "second bite" principle, and timing the impact to promote reseeding of desirables while timing impact to interrupt reseeding of invasives.


Quote:
Was there anything wrong with the timing restrictions that the BLM wanted to impose on Bundy's cattle?
Not adaptive. Too restrictive. Could be more, but I'd have to study that more, and quite frankly not interested. I have spent way more time on this than I should have already. I have my own research too after all.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 07:37 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
All evidence to the contrary is from propaganda blogs, pure an simple! HURUMPH!
The dismissal of any links that disagree with HM as propaganda are a big part of why I can't take any of the HM arguments seriously. RBF does a serious disservice to his cause if there is any actual science to back HM up.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 05:40 AM   #80
Biscuit
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Originally Posted by elbe View Post
The dismissal of any links that disagree with HM as propaganda are a big part of why I can't take any of the HM arguments seriously. RBF does a serious disservice to his cause if there is any actual science to back HM up.
Same here. The burden of proof is on the claimants and they refuse to or can't provide any objective evidence.
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