Monoculture, risk, and change

Assessing landscape health, Part 2: diagnosis

You learned the basics of landscape assessment in Part 1 of this article. Here's your chance to test your knowledge. How healthy are these landscapes?

Kachana Pastoral Co.
bare ground

Assessing landscape health, Part 1: what to look for

Before healing land, we must assess its current health, just as a doctor examines you and asks about your symptoms before starting treatment. Like the doctor, we want to know what's happening now, and what's possible for our "patient".

Diagnosing landscapes well takes knowledge and practice. If you want to go beyond this basic guide, I recommend Charlie Orchard's Land EKG.

Land EKG: practical rangeland monitoring

Charley Orchard grew up in Wyoming, a fourth-generation rancher. After he took his first Holistic Management course, he tried to bring it back to his family operation. Success was pretty limited at first. "What do you do when you don't know what to do? You go back to school."

Natural lawn mowers

Cindy Dvergsten

Achieving the potential of federal lands

This essay was first published in Different Drummer (see in 1995. As Daniel Kemmis remarks in This Sovereign Land (Island Press, 2001) "sooner or later, something analogous to welfare reform will occur in the arena of public lands and resource management."

Creating an open log market in British Columbia

VERNON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--For decades, large timber corporations have been calling the shots in the management of the province's seemingly unlimited forests. As the end comes into sight, conflict has escalated over the biological, social, and economic consequences of converting huge acreages and volumes of timber into cheap dimensional lumber and pulp for export.

Water absorption in grazed and rested pastures

Summary: Pasture grazed and then allowed to rest 5 weeks showed better water infiltration than pasture rested either for shorter periods or for a year.

These are the results of a test I did in 21 June of 1997. A flash rain went through an area where I had four pastures of similar topography and soil. We got 2" (50 mm) of rain in 30 minutes.

Beyond partial management

From the Holistic Resource Management Quarterly, Winter 1994, number 42. (Now called Holistic Management In Practice; see the Allan Savory Center for Holistic Management website at

Half empty, or half full?

In the 1970s and '80s, John McKnight and John Kretzmann studied hundreds of urban neighborhoods. "We were looking for neighborhoods where people were growing power to solve economic, social, and political problems." Without exception, they found that communities empower themselves by focusing on their gifts, capacities, and assets rather than on their needs or deficiencies.

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