The System Approach

Rural System promotes a system approach to land management. A system approach treats a property and its surroundings as a complex system in which ecological, economic, esthetic, energetic and social components interrelate. In other words, system thinking recognizes the ways in which variables such as soil quality, water quality, wildlife, and human activities influence one another. Such thinking allows for comprehensive land management practices by recognizing a great diversity of resources and influences over time. A system approach also emphasizes clear objectives and corrective feedback, thus allowing ownerships to be managed dynamically as variables change.

The Rural System approach proposes the use of GIS software to organize data on a property in a spatial format. Data are obtained from public sources and from collaborators, as well as collected from the property itself. This information can then be plugged into prescriptive software, which uses the most current land management techniques to optimize management decisions. Prescriptive software accounts for major variables mathematically, yielding the most beneficial prescriptions for action in every case.

Our current focus is in promoting the development of prescriptive software to aid in optimal rural-region vitality. Optimal rural-region vitality means a balance of long-term profitability with the health and enhancement of natural resources and local communities. We recognize the importance of improving and sustaining scarce natural resources, preferably with a 150-year planning horizon. If the land can be enhanced, profits will increase and may be sustained into the future.