Ecological Risk Management

Understanding Risks

Will You Succeed as a Rangeland Manager?

Silhouette of a cowboy riding a horse as the sun setsThere is a certain amount of risk and uncertainty associated with almost every decision you make. You must be optimistic about your decisions, or else you will not implement them. However, realistic optimism is based on a careful study of all the evidence.

Successful managers look for evidence that a plan might not work, as well as evidence that it will. They do not rely on general rules of thumb, and they do not make the same decisions year after year for fear of trying new approaches. Your chance of success depends on selecting the right things to do and then doing them right.


What Are Your Odds?

Why do some people seem to beat the odds by sustaining their rangeland resources and succeeding financially even under adverse conditions, where others are always out of forage, out of feed, out of water and out of money?

Top operators recognize that successful business management is, to a large extent, successful risk management. Even if you can’t control a particular business risk, you can manage your business to compensate for it. In some cases you can even capitalize on the risks you face.

  • Powerpoint Slides: Risk Management


Risk, Probabilities and Uncertainty

To understanding the concepts of risk, probability and uncertainty, let’s consider drought. Drought is common on Texas rangelands. Its frequency and duration increase as you move from the eastern to the western part of the state. The odds are that there will be drought 1 to 3 years out of 10 (east to west, respectively.) But what do these odds mean? Will there be a 1-year drought, a 3-year drought, or two 3-year droughts within the next 10 years? And when will they occur?

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