In this paper, Dr. Richard Teague examines the shortcomings and inaccuracies of his colleague Dr. David Briske’s claims against Allan Savory’s methods.
The knowledge base used by Briske et al. stems from a very poor understanding of Holistic Planned Grazing and poorly executed grazing experiments. To make sweeping statements such as “The Savory method cannot green deserts or reverse climate change” is particularly misleading. It ignores the fact that many ranchers operating in low rainfall areas from 10 to 15 inches, areas so bare of vegetation that most people would call them desertified, have managed to restore vegetation, ecosystem function, and productivity using Holistic Planned Grazing when even complete removal of livestock had failed to achieve any restoration.
Most research cited by Briske et al. has been short-term and has examined the issue from a reductionist viewpoint that has not included the critical influences of scale or used the best management strategies of Holistic Planned Grazing to achieve sound animal production, resource improvement, and socioeconomic goals under constantly varying conditions on rangelands. Concentrating only on differences in productivity without meaningfully taking into account negative impacts on the environment can lead to misleading extrapolations. Such conclusions cloud rather than enhance knowledge about sustainable grazing management and have no relevance for practical grazing management applications. Further, published multipaddock grazing research from Australia, southern Africa, Argentina, and the United States (omitted in the reviews by Briske et al.), 1) conducted at the scale of ranching operations, 2) adaptively managed as conditions changed to achieve desired ecosystem and production goals, and 3) measuring parameters indicating change in ecosystem function has arrived at the opposite view to those expressed by Briske et al.
In summary, it is hard to fathom how scientists can ignore the superior outcomes achieved by conservation award–winning ranchers who use either Holistic Planned Grazing or well-managed multipaddock, time-controlled grazing. Good science involves actively seeking information that refutes any hypothesis, not rigidly defending a particular hypothesis and viewpoint against any dissenting viewpoint or published data.
Teague, 2014. “Deficiencies in the Briske et al. Rebuttal of the Savory Method.” Rangelands 2014 (1):37-38. doi: https://doi.org/10.2111/1551-501X-36.1.37