printer version (loads faster)


Glossary of terms for managing wholes

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

managed grazing - Any grazing management process or system in which pasture is divided into smaller units which are then grazed in a planned sequence or rotation.

Related terms: "Holistic Grazing Planning, rotational grazing"

Management-Intensive Grazing - (MIG) A method of rotational grazing used to achieve high forage yields.

mature capping - A hard soil crust dominated by a plant community of algae, lichens, or mosses. See biological soil crust.

Graeme Hand
Mature litter. In brittle climates, getting mature litter requires high animal impact.

mature litter - Litter that blends into the soil beneath it, so that it is impossible to tell where the litter ends and the soil begins.

Related terms: litter, immature litter

megafauna - Animals of 44 kg (100 lbs.) mature body weight or more. Most of the world's megafauna went extinct within the last 60,000 years, with the arrival of modern humans.

Related terms: megafauna extinction

megafauna extinction - The extinction of most of the world's megafauna with the arrival of modern humans. Sub-Saharan Africa, where the game coevolved with humans, lost only 5% of its large mammal genera. (A genus encompasses one or more related species.) Europe, where Homo erectus had lived for 900,000 years, saw a 30% extinction. North America lost 74% of it's large mammal genera, South America lost 79%. Nearly all of North America's survivors had ancestors in Asia, where they co-evolved with Homo erectus. No large Australian fauna had co-evolved with humans, and 85% went extinct. The last big extinction before the development of firearms happened 900 years ago when the Maori reached New Zealand and exterminated the moas.

Joy Livingwell
2.7 meters (9 feet) long, this glyptodont and its relatives went extinct with the arrival of modern humans in North and South America.

Paleontologists use genera to measure extinctions because closely related species can't always be distinguished by their skeletons. The number of large animal species that went extinct is thus unknown. Since some of the genera were large (in North America, all but one of an estimated 22 species of pronghorn antelope died out), the number of extinct species must have been enormous. The Americas may have lost 90% or more of their large species.

This profound implications for sustainable land management. Most of the world's landscapes now lack biodiversity of large species, especially predators. Low biodiversity makes environments less stable and resilient, and often less biologically productive as well.

MIG - Management Intensive Grazing

mineral cycle - The process by which nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, and calcium cycle between living things and the atmosphere and soils. Where mineral cycles are healthy, nutrients cycle rapidly and tend to stay within living things or accessible to them (for instance, as a "nutrient bank" in the upper layers of soil). Where mineral cycles are unhealthy, nutrients tend to get tied up in biologically unavailable forms or lost through erosion, leaching, or burning.

Related terms: water cycle, energy flow, community dynamics

Related pages: "Mineral cycles"

mineral dollars - Money derived from human creativity combined with labor and raw resources (soil, timber, dung used as fuel, water, oil, coal, gas, gold, iron, etc.). The raw resources that mineral dollar wealth depends on can be used

Compare paper dollars, solar dollars.

monitoring - To systematically observe so as to be able to track progress. Holistic Management practitioners monitor progress toward their holistic goal. They also monitor for the earliest possible signs that their management isn't working, so they can correct course while it's easiest to do.

Related terms: Land EKG, Pasture Walk, transect, Triple Bottom Line

Related pages: "Landscape monitoring for ecosystem health"

mycorrhiza - Plural mycorrhizas or mycorrhizae. The symbiotic association of a fungus with the roots of a plant.

Related pages: "Working with soil life"

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Suggestions for terms or definitions? Email us (opens web form).

Updated 1 November 2005