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Glossary of terms for managing wholes

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paddock - A small division of land within a grazing cell where stock are grazed for short periods -- hours or days. Paddocks can be fenced or merely marked for herders to observe.

Related terms: planned grazing

paper dollars - Money derived from human creativity and labor alone, with no or minimal use of natural resources. Services generally fall into this category. In some cases wealth seems instantly available in nearly unlimited quantities -- when a book, album, or product becomes a bestseller, or when high-priced consultants, lawyers, and athletes command enormous sums for an hour's work. Yet such money can vanish as quickly as it appears -- witness the dot com crash. Compare mineral dollars, solar dollars.

partial rest - Takes place when grazing or browsing herbivores are on the land, but without predators to excite them and keep them bunched. Calmly walking around, the animals barely disturb the soil surface and trample very little material onto the ground. In brittle environments, partial rest is a major cause of land damage and desertification.

Related terms: herd effect, animal impact, overrest, regenerative rest, disturbance

Related pages: "Brittle and nonbrittle landscapes", "How can grazing heal land?"

pasture cropping - Growing crops by drilling grain crops into pasture. The pasture provides weed control, the crop increases biodiversity and grows extra food or forage, and pasture soil and plants benefit. Crops may be grazed down or harvested.

Pasture cropping was developed in an area of Australia where poor grazing management virtually eliminated cool-season grasses from native pastures. Drilling crops such as wheat and rye into pasture dominated by warm-season native grasses extends the growing season while increasing pasture health.

Related terms: biological productivity

Related pages: "Soil loss and soil surface management"

Pasture Walk - Wayne Burleson's fast method for monitoring landscape health.

Related pages: "Landscape monitoring for ecosystem health"

patch grazing - low-density grazing

Peter Donovan
pedestaled bunchgrass
Pedestaled bunchgrass. Erosion has removed the soil from around this plant, leaving only what its roots can hold.

pedestal erosion - Erosion that removes soil between plants, leaving them sitting on pedestals held in place by their roots. Often a sign of severe sheet erosion.

Permaculture - A design system, based on ecological principles, for creating sustainable human environments. The word comes from permanent + agriculture.

perennial plant - A plant that lives several to many years. Trees and many grasses are perennials.

In general, perennial grasses produce more forage more reliably than annuals:

Related terms: solar capture, biological productivity

Joy Livingwell
soil crust
Physical soil crust dry 1 hour after a rain (light areas). Soil crusts shed water, and quickly evaporate the rainfall they absorb.

physical soil crust - (Also immature capping.) A soil crust that shows no sign of successional advancement (colonization by algae, mosses, etc.). Soil crusts form when rain pounds exposed soil and destroys its crumb structure. This frees fine particles that seal the surface, which then dries out and hardens. Crusted soil cannot breathe or absorb water easily.

Related terms: soil crust, biological soil crust

Related pages: "Soil crust basics," "Environmental restoration", "Desertification"

planned grazing - A common abbreviation for Holistic Grazing Planning.

positive deviation - positive exception.

positive exception - Also called counterexample or positive deviation. An example that demonstrates exceptional performance. Once you find positive exceptions, you can determine what makes them different and do more of it.

This powerful approach has proved successful across a range of disciplines. A highly successful program for improving child nutrition in Vietnam looked for families that had the same access to resources as others in their village, yet provided their children with better nutrition. These families then became models and teachers for other villagers.

Richard Bandler developed NLP's famed fast phobia cures by studying people who had successfully gotten over phobias. Land managers who note which areas of their land display exceptionally good health and biodiversity can determine which factors to increase on the rest of their land.

Related pages: "Article describing the Vietnam project"

Right now I am writing by my campfire in Zimbabwe where the government is claiming the economic meltdown is due to drought -- and many people believe that. Corn stands are pathetic and nowhere in the surrounding area was the grass higher than about half and inch. I wandered away from the crowd and soon found a place where the grass was a foot high and lush. This of course was a positive deviation. Every single place without exception where the grass was half an inch high and wilting, the surrounding soil was 99% bare and the grass plants were exposed to a few goats constantly overgrazing them. The corn likewise was planted on soil over 99% bare. By contrast, the place with the lush grass was under a small fallen thorn tree where the goats could not get their faces in to graze and the litter had caught between the grass plants. Clearly, although the rains are undoubtedly poor, this is really not a drought and is entirely man made, as is the economic meltdown.

-- Allan Savory, January 2003

positive feedback - Feedback that reinforces a process in motion. For instance, a fire burning hotter ignites more fuel, which makes the fire hotter, which ignites more fuel, and so on. As population increases, more babies get born, further increasing the population. As a cold spreads to more people, more people pass on the infection, so still more become sick.

Positive feedback is a very powerful force. We most often notice its effects when they are negative: pest and disease outbreaks, population and economic booms (followed by crashes), etc. Desertifying land grows ever less food for grazers, fewer grazers provide less animal impact, less impact means more overrest, and overrest hastens desertification.

But when we work with positive feedback, its self-reinforcing process can produce astounding results. A good idea spreads from dozens to millions of people. Healing desert grows more forage, which feeds more grazers that produce more animal impact, which plants more seeds that grow into plants that feed still more grazers.

Related terms: negative feedback, exponential growth

productivity - See biological productivity

public lands - U.S. public lands

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Updated 1 November 2005