Holistic Resource Management (HRM) is a ranch management strategy plagued by controversy; experimental evidence from ecological studies has consistently failed to support that HRM provides ecological benefits, yet many ranchers staunchly support the method.
Using a qualitative approach, we found that the HRM processes used on four case study ranches in eastern Colorado provided a systematic framework for key ranch stakeholders to improve long-term, adaptive approaches to managing ranches as complex socioecological systems.
Notably, the ranchers emphasized the planning benefits of HRM over the grazing benefits, suggesting the value of the system is not in how the cattle are grazed but in how it changes the way ranchers make decisions about how to graze their cattle and manage the many other complexities of operating a ranch.
Approaching HRM as a planning framework versus as a grazing strategy may be a key factor in the difference in claims between ranchers practicing HRM and researchers studying grazing systems.
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Vol. 42 • No. 5