Recently I receive this email from Juha Manninen in Finland, and I think both it, and my response, might help many people understand the roles of both a bit better.

From Juha to Savory Institute.:

Allan Savory is clearly right about how to treat grasslands. Wow!
However, in many occasions he hints that grasslands are “better” or more preferable than forests.  I don’t understand why.
The fact is that lots of currently desertified land used to be forest. Trees were cut, then cattle was grazed. The animals ate new tree seedlings thus preventing the forest to regenerate.
As Allan noted, it does not depend on the amount of rain. Even very wet places have desertified.
Planting trees in such areas is a very logical thing to do in my opinion.
Allan emphasizes in his talks that reforestation projects have failed, which is not really true.
Why does he do that?

Trees can photosynthesize more than most other plants. They can do it also in early spring and late autumn in climates having a cold winter.
They can prevent erosion better and pull nutrients from deeper with their big roots.
Their operating efficiency is just superior.

Actually Allan’s videos show lots of trees. Some lands are between a forest and a grassland.
He even mentioned how tree seedlings have appeared thanks to his holistic management. Apparently he is not against trees.
Another question then: how does he prevent the cattle eating those tree seedlings? A tree takes many years to grow so big that a cow or sheep does not want to eat it. So, even if the land can recover a full year, it is not enough.

I have seen Allan Savory’s videos in YouTube and read some articles.
I am planning to buy the Foundations of Holistic Management E-Books but haven’t done so yet. Would they answer my questions?
Juha Manninen, Finland


Dear Juha,

I understand your puzzlement.  Let me see if I can clear it.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.