Holistic Management

Integrazers – timberland and wildfire prevention

How can we create our desired, resilient future landscape with a healthy and thriving ecosystem while balancing the needs of timber company, herders, and animals?

I’m kneeling with Lee on the ground of the timber plantation. We look at the work result of the 2.000 goats who have been here before. Clearing tons of foliage and keeping the shrubs at check.

The bunch grasses in between are severely grazed, maybe even overgrazed in some of the individual plants.

“I think the bunch grasses can handle it. They will spring back. And hopefully even more of them.”

Overgrazing on purpose.

That’s what it’s all about when you work within the complexity of life.

Lee says he doesn’t have the answers yet. He’s figuring it out as he goes. With a lot of field experiments and work. And even more observing and feedback loops to adjust management of sheep and goats.

Building sustainable communities in the forest that are also economically sustainable and can be done on large scale.

“I really want to see a world where when we see smoke we don’t scream ‘Sh*t. Run for your lives.’ But instead ‘We should go put that fire out at some point.’”

I’m excited to be in connection with Lee, Laura, and all the others in their operations to learn more and share it within our European context.


The three Peruvian shepherds integrate us in every part of their doing here in the Californian forests west of Tahoe. For them it’s second nature, for us it’s all new.

Starting at how to drive an ATV which I have never done to this day.

Jim gives me the easiest overview and let’s me go. Experiential learning you might say in a different context. Two hours later, Bridget and I are pushing 2,000 goats from behind, looking out for strugglers.

Strugglers… more like rogues. It’s goats after all.

It is unbelievable to see what 3 herders can do in a day with only their creativity and labor. Set up new fences, get the new base camp with trailers and water in place. And finally move 2000 goats more than 5 miles through the forest to their new ‘workplace’.

The forest is all quiet.

No chainsaws or machinery. Just human creativity, labor, and managing the goats to be best at what they are: Being goats.

Nibbling on brushes, shrubs, maybe a little tree or two. Trampling and browsing away to reduce the wildfire risks.

The right animal for this context.

It’s pitch black dark while we are still standing in a circle, munching on our last bit of chili, and listening to the stories of Lee and Cowboy Carl.

It has been a long day when we finally crawl into our tents.

I’ve learned so much in these 2 days from the people and the land. And especially from Lee’s over 30 years of experiences and never ending energy.

I’m glad we’ll be on the road and on hikes the next days.

To reflect on the new information about managing for wildfire prevention while creating a future resilient landscape and building a sustainable operation – for forest, timber company, goats, and herders.

To turn this information into knowledge.

To one day transfer it maybe into wisdom that shines in Lee’s twinkling eyes.

Holistic Management


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