I also include an excerpt from an interview
where Allan responds to some of these criticisms:
Q: Your theories are undeniably innovative and have therefore been criticised by “official” science. Those who criticise your studies claim that the supporting data don’t have a scientific basis. How would you reply to that?
A: Holistic management involves addressing social, environmental and economic complexity both short and long term in any management situation from government or international organization’s policies to managing a crop farm or rangelands to reverse desertification. In all situations we use a modification of the universal underlying framework of conscious decision making, and wherever livestock are involved or required to reverse desertification, we then use the holistic grazing planning process to address that complexity.
Clearly management needs to be holistic and can never be reductionist, and using the holistic framework we transcend scientific disciplines while obviously using knowledge and scientific principles gleaned from all disciplines and even traditional knowledge for example in agriculture. As such holistic management lies outside the paradigm of range science believing that grasslands or rangelands can only be managed by various rotational and other grazing systems prescribed by range scientists. Prescribed by “experts” such management systems have, as I indicated in my TED talk, accelerated desertification even in the United States.
While there are a great many peer-reviewed studies supporting all of the science applied using both the holistic framework and it’s planned grazing, I am not aware of a single peer-reviewed paper that is critical of this process. There are I know many peer-reviewed papers published by range scientists critical of many of the short duration, rotational and other grazing systems that they believe and claim represent holistic management. None of those authors made any attempt to either understand or study holistic management lying as it does outside the paradigms of their profession.
The latest and most up to date paper allegedly critical of holistic planned grazing is one by Dr David Briske et al summarizing previous range science literature. But none of the papers cited bear any relationship to holistic management as outlined earlier. And Briske et al has been refuted by other academics, including one of the authors of the paper.
Unfortunately such “expert or authoritative” opposition is normal whenever a major paradigm shift occurs in science and it would be abnormal if this was not happening as has been written about since Galileo and is well described in “The Structure of Scientific Revolution” by Thomas Kuhn.
What we are experiencing is nothing but a paradigm paralysis problem. It required many years, and deaths, before brilliant cavalry officers could comprehend that barbed wire, machine guns and trenches had rendered horses impractical in modern tank and infantry battles. In like manner brilliant range scientists have yet to come to terms with understanding the replacement of all past rotational and other grazing systems prescribed by “experts” disregarding social, environmental and economic complexity. In this case tragically millions more men, women and children have been dying as the institutional paradigm shift gradually takes place.
As one respected American range scientist wrote recently in his blog, “I have no question that there is strong scientific support for holistic management.” There is considerable peer reviewed research supporting all the science applied in holistic planned grazing available to anyone interested, as well as a simple explanation of the Science & Methodology available at www.savoryinstitute.com