Test your decisionsThe seven testing guidelines have been developed to help you stay 'on track'. Staying on track means making consistent movement towards your holisticgoal. The guidelines are a simple and practical device for checking the likely ecological, financial and social soundness of your actions. They scan both the short and long term consequences for you, and you will probably think this is a good idea, particularly if you've ever experienced adverse effects from actions that seemed like a really good idea at the time.
It's rare for farmers and landscape managers to deliberately degrade their land, and every generation genuinely believes it is doing the best it can. Unfortunately though, on every continent there are widespread examples of desertified and desertifying land, suggesting something serious has been amiss for a long time. It also suggests that after such a long time, some of the problems might be predictable if things were viewed through a different lens. The seven testing guidelines are such a lens.
They work because each guideline focuses on a single aspect, and ignores all other 'noise'. Several guidelines focus directly on financial soundness, several others focus only on ecological soundness, and the remainder focus specifically on social soundness. When the picture is recompiled at the end, it is compared to what the the proponents of the idea described in their holisticgoal at Principle Number 7.
No other management process has this double checking capacity: the ability to describe what must be achieved (the holisticgoal), and the capacity to directly test each and every idea for movement towards it before making expensive commitments. This combination makes possible an informed judgement as to the real soundness of any idea, and catches mistakes before they happen.
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