Rural System's


Enterprise Environments
The Managed Resource Space


1. Call "the family farm" or "the tract" or "the ownership" the enterprise environment.
The "family farm", the ownership, etc. is called an enterprise environment because some ownerships are in lakes, strip mines, forests, and may be long-abandoned and are inappropriately called "farms."
2. Think of the enterprise environment under management by Rural System for an owner as a total environment, on and off the "ownership", over and under it.
The space is generally used for conventional farming (crops and livestock), but also the fishery and activity within the riparian zones, and businesses that depend upon the soil and land ... and many other businesses or divisions that do not but ... that together ... with other lands in clusters, make profit.
  The Enterprise Environment
The rural ownership (with others in a cluster of ownerships) is a potentially-profit-making environment, much more than that of the "farmland.". That's one reason for emphasizing, naming, and stressing the needs of a total system to be profitable, consistently, for a very long time.

Information and Diagnoses

Rural System enterprise environments are private lands willingly brought under contract with Rural System for restoration (as needed), protection, preservation, and typically for long term active modern sophisticated management for long-term bounded sustained profits.

They are usually more than 50 acres in size but several small areas may be developed as a common tract. They are typically in rural areas but may be large wooded and wetland urban ownerships, corporate lands, and others (e.g., aggregates of town and city small holdings). They have been related by some people as somewhat like well-known state forests or parks but they are private lands and are used only by certain members of Rural System organizations or during planned events. They are land being used to produce annual profits for the land owner while he or she waits for the financial returns of the typical clearcut-cycle of lands with trees. That out-moded cycle is rarely even considered in the modern computer-aided decisions about long term, profitable land and water management that accompany profitable total land management

The owner specifies objectives and limits (part of a contract) and turns over management of the area to the staff of Rural System. A dynamic computer-based management plan is produced. The land goes under certification within Smartwood as being in the process of becoming a " sustainable forest." Boundaries are well marked; use by various Groups is planned and initiated; roads and trails are improved as needed; the tract is inspected by security; forest, wildlife, plant, and fishery inventories are conducted; the plan is dynamically revised; modern silviculture is installed and may include some tree harvests to improve and set in motion profit gains for the future; hunting and fishing potentials (with fees) are managed; recreational use, where feasible, is sponsored.

The owner gains annually a proportion of the profits from the entire enterprise. The proportions are discussed under the Bottomline. The actual proportion is a function of the quality-weighted acres of the owner(s) as they are a proportion of the total acres held under management by Rural System. The more acres, generally the greater the profits, thus the greater the profits for each land owner participant .. all in proportion to the acres and the general quality of each that they hold. (A quality-weighting scheme for expressing the relative value and owner-decided limits on uses of each acre is used.) There are incentives for people to encourage others to bring their lands into the system, to expedite practices, and to perform more profitably.

Believing that agriculture and forestry have "mined the soil" for years, staff view certain investments as the cost of business to restore and improve productivity of those land volumes. This proportion is also discussed in the Bottomline.

Space is at least four-dimensional. It has the two latitude-longitude dimensions of typical, well known maps, the vertical dimension from deep in the ground upward to the edge of the atmosphere, and time, especially the one encompassing concepts of history,culture, and the next 150 years of the planning period ... space as it might become is the realm of the resource manager. Managed resource space is not just landscape or owned area, but it is a volume with all if its history, connotations, meanings, and potentials. It is land with images -- blood, gun smoke, disease, catastrophes, happy people, and struggling people. (It includes the n-dimensions of ecological space, the "hypervolume.") It is the enterprise environment.

A dot is one dimensional.

A line is two dimensional, for example with x and y dimensions
A "box" or conventional volume is three-dimensional, for example with x,y, and z dimensions.
A volume tumbling along over time (T) is four dimensional and a line showing a time trajectory of a three dimensional entity in three dimensions also suggests a four-dimensional reality.

A three-dimensional thing (like a box) changing in time and also within three-dimensional space may be considered a six or seven dimensional entity.

While it is difficult mentally to deal with more than four dimensions, it is essential for the ecologist and rural resource manager to attempt to do so for there are many more than 6 or 7 factors involved in every situation (I contend that there are about 30 which must be actively considered). Thus we are dealing not with 6 or 7 but with n dimensions. We need to consider not a 3-dimensional volume but a many-dimensional one, difficult or impossible to imagine or perceive, a hyper-volume.

The famous biologist/ecologist Hutchinson (years ago) described "ecological niche" as the n-dimensional hypervolume. An animal population, as if at some point (such as T2) in the box above) is a function of or exists due to factors along all axes among the points.

By changing factors, several usually simultaneously, managers can get a population to move within the hypervolume. The more constrained the hypervolume, the more rare will be the species. If factors can be relaxed, populations may expand to "fill" the available space within the hypervolume. Toxicants tend to be limiting ... even to death. Pest species tend to have a broad ecological amplitude, ability to occupy vast amounts of the hypervolume. Often the managerial task is to reduce the limitations, expand the volume for a particular species or "deme." The complexity and dynamics of the hypervolume suggest that the concept of the manager merely reducing "limiting factors" is much too simplistic.

The n-dimensional concept can be used with many rural resources such as outdoor recreation and human use of areas. People find those volumes that are suitable to their set of factors at a time. The volumes change with age, and areas once suitable may no longer be suitable.

Overly simplistic, the hypervolume can be considered a set of flat planes (somewhat like a complex diamond suspended in space and changing position often) such as might be described by a multiple regression equation of a form like:

P = a + B1 +C6 + D4 - E12 + F2 - G5

in which some value of P (for populations or plants or people or animals) may be estimated when values for the six well-selected factors of the environment or social system are well estimated.

Developing and using such models is the task of the modern rural resource manager who is typically trying to achieve a desired value such as P. Knowing the values that produce or limit it is essential. Then will come optimization ... achieving the best combination of the variables cost effectively for achieving P, approximately.

Protected Space

Protected space may be tightly controlled parks, wilderness areas, refuges, sanctuaries, natural monuments, even off-limit military areas, but herein we develop the concept of all of the resources of a large area being restored, managed, protected as needed, allowing people to work in an area and around it for a very long time so as to achieve their objectives. While "harmony with nature" is a theme, and sustainability another, managed resource space is consistent with the more important theme of achieving a large set of important human objectives and their associated benefits over the longrun. The areas guided by The RRx are not in opposition to European "protected areas" or "protected landscapes" (which have been known for over 40 years).

Resource Space

Resource spaces are nominal systems. They may be pointed out and mapped but only the people living in and near them can comprehend them. They are a singular environment - unusual, interesting, unique, distinctive. It is possible that such unique spaces may be maintained and enhanced, thereby assuring that the people's stated social and financial needs are met and owner's rights are protected and respected. These spaces are more than landscapes, said grossly by some to be "the environment that people experience." They are the areas and volumes, past and present; all the phenomena called "ecological." They encompass esthetics (as in most landscape work), economics (broadly), and energetics implying the fundamental budgeting of energy throughout the entire system. The concept also encompasses the staff and personnel working on and with them, facilities, and computer system whether on the site or not. They are extended areas, both in space and time.

While some will agree that the land volume is the unit to be managed, few will deal with the vast connectedness of such a volume with other lands, all of the land to which birds and insects migrate, all of the lands from which dust-clouds (and radioisotopes) descend, all of the water flowing into and out of the managed volume. The extended resource space is the challenge for the manager.

Managed Space

The success of a long-term, lasting, managed space project depends on cooperating people and groups and on the natural commitment of the people and authorities to the objectives and to the major techniques employed. We believe and work toward achieving a committed financially-sound organization for the region.

These spaces are more than landscapes, said grossly by some to be "the environment that people experience." They are the areas and volumes, past and present; all the phenomena called ecological. They encompass esthetics (as in most landscape work), economics (broadly, with long-term profit as a measure of economic success), and energetics implying the fundamental budgeting of energy (especially the net energy budgeting of survivors) throughout the entire system. The concept also encompasses the staff and personnel working on and with them, facilities, and computer system.

Managed resource spaces are nominal systems. They may be pointed out and mapped but only the people living in and near them can comprehend them. They are a singular environment... unusual, interesting, one thing, distinctive. It is possible that such unique spaces may be maintained and enhanced, thereby assuring that the people's stated social and financial needs are met and owner's rights are protected and respected. Managed resource space is a concept that may include such concepts, but not necessarily. The concept is one of land protected from simple-minded maximizing, from sub-optimization, from disproportionate human group representation, and from unnecessarily short short-term allocations. The concept of protected landscapes may be one whose time has come and perhaps it will soon be replaced by managed resource space.

A social need that must be met through the land is to allow people to exist and experience the area in ways that may enhance the local economy but in ways that at the same time do not substantially alter or adversely effect or prejudice the natural, cultural, and social ceremonies or behaviors.

Managed resource spaces have some of the characteristics of parks and resources but they tend to have outstanding semi-natural landscapes to be in productive use, be inhabited, to have major responsibility to local governments, to be mainly in private ownership, and to be under the care of a decision maker with clear objectives and a system coordinator.

The Working Platform

See The Working Platform discussion in Chapter 12 of Rural System...Just Dreaming.

RRx's Dynamic Platform is a proposed system now being programmed with major parts usually being within a "GIS." It is described as if were completed. It is a meso-scale; four-dimensional; changing-over-150-years; land surface, subsurface, air, and water analysis-and-depiction system. In addition to now-conventional computer maps, (hard-copy or monitor images) the system provides quantitative analyses with graphs and tables of the elements of such maps. Most importantly, the system provides specific times and amounts of changes to be made in the system to achieve desired profits and other objectives.

The system, described here, provides a way of scheduling activities on a land ownership so that they collectively, over time (150 years, sliding forward a year each year), produce, within bounds, most-likely feasible, desired, value-weighted quantities of benefits (from products and services, etc.) on and related to a private ownership.

We work on the premise that the owner has objectives and can assign them relative importance. (We will do so if required.) We protect native species and communities that are present within the ownership (achieving the so-called biodiversity objective) and know the ecological limits of land (thus supressing, with comment, unreasonable objectives). Within his or her stated bounds of the objective we seek to meet the owner's objectives, without interuption, over the next 150-year planning period.

Q is the system performance measure. When the system is under intensive management it fluctuates from natural as well as managerial actions. Some penetration of the boundary (C and E) may be due to natural forces such as major storms. Excesses (beyond B) are typically from mis-management, over-investment, and over-production, distupting the future system.
A general picture of the desired results (at the right) is a collective "benefits curve," showing that benefits were achieved (the objective) by Terra2b platforms over many years, fluctuating within bounds with minimum violations of the bounds.

The system addresses the land as a working platform (described in Rural System ... Just Dreaming), undescribed and specified only by UTM Earth geo-coordinates. Alpha units are described elsewhere. They are practical-sized units (10m x 10m) for most mid-Atlantic regional rural work, more precise than ever used for current life, not precise enough for engineering structures or equipment-based precision agriculture, but reflecting knowledge of combined natural, equipment, observer, and climatic variation. They are the RRx map picture element, the pixel. There are approximately 8097 cells in a 200-acre farm. Depending on its shape, the outer edge zone may expand that to 10,000 cells in an average analysis.

Knowledge that natural variations occur is common. Fairly wide fluctuations in natural systems are natural. For human systems, these fluctuations are often dangerous, unhealthy, costly, and life threatening. Gaining stability and control toward an objective is the essence of "managing a system." The difference in fluctuations before and after managerial control is gained is suggested within the sketch. The dynamic platform system gives users such control. Control is gained over the parts of the production system that sum to the fluctuating land shown at the left. Control is gained by selecting activities, selecting timing of activity starts, and selecting factors that shape each transition curve (to be explained below).

The Dynamic Platform (DP) algorithm of Rural System is built on the premise that trends in ecological community development and structure can be fairly well explained and predicted. There is well-known variability but an additional premise is that such explanations and thus predictions can be improved. We know each prediction is an estimate. Expected conditions or results of trends are called effects of ecological succession and have been described in transition theory. They have related analogs in "production functions" in economic theory. Animals influence these trends and are influenced by them. Animals are a function of each stage of the succession. Named plant communities go through stages, named sequences, seral stages, well known in ecology. Graphs can be made of the changes in likely animal species abundance in a community over time. Similarly, graphs can be made of trends in single species abundance over time, also of probable biomass, lumber, erosion, water transpired, allergens, disease hosts, and many other factors of interest throughout rural systems (and elsewhere, e.g., motor pool safety or accident rates and fire risks in urban blocks). The transition algorithm thus provides a common means for dealing with many non-linear changing structures, functions, and relationships in rural systems.

In some cases, precise definitions of "land" and land units that evidently differ are needed. Land may be covered by trees. Land that was once covered by trees may have no trees but may still be called forest land. We start with land as the fundamental unit, then discuss whether it has trees; their size, age, and type. For legal and other reasons, forest land is defined as land area with a minimum size of one acre and 100 feet in width which is at least 10 percent stocked with trees of any size.

Minimum stocking as part of the definition is determined by either crown cover or basal area (definitions may be found in the Glossary):

See energy of forests for multiple definitions of forests.

Management Situation and Direction

Personnel working on the enterprise environment must follow the concepts here for it to have any meaning and for its sure consequences to be achieved. Together owners and people around the land depend on careful use of the RRx Prescription to achieve efficiency, effectiveness, and the sustained quality of life seen in its development.

Rural System serves to inform the public and agencies about future programs so that understanding and cooperation can be obtained. Direction is expressed in terms of objectives (desired future condition), objectives, standards and guidelines, and specific management area practices called "actions." The direction is formed in response to public issues, management concerns, and opportunities within the availability, suitability, and capability of private land and resources. The direction in this plan is in harmony with general regional guidelines but made specific to achieve economies and owner objectives.

The RRx documents are fixed and sure but annual adjustments and changes are needed to reflect current priorities and fully-expected changes in style, markets, labor, and prices.

The RRx provides guidance for developing long-term direction and short-term (five and ten years) implementation. The management area prescriptions are translated into short-range program budget proposals which specifically identify the activities and expenditures necessary to achieve the on-the-ground results. The annual work plan (through established decision variables) provides the detail to the program necessry to guide the land managers and their staffs.

Environmental Assessments are ongoing and documented within the system. Typically, prescriptions consist of descriptions for working within each compartment within each ownership of a cluster. These are areas achieving a set of objectives that differs from neighboring areas. Compartments are where work is done to achieve desired future conditions. Broad overall direction on the type and amount of benefits expected is contained in the compartment descriptions. Prescriptions specify the conditions that must be gained and maintained to achieve the desired future conditions.

Prescription maps indicate the estimated timing and vicinity or location of proposed and probable management practices for the first 10-year period. An implementation map reflects project completion, changes in scheduling due to funding changes, and adjustments in projects resulting from gained site-specific knowledge.

The RRx maps typically include

Special Areas and Activities

These areas also mapped, can range in size from a few acres to several hundred acres. The unique characteristics of these areas require that they be "protected" by unusual attention and surety that prescriptions are well implemented. They may include areas which are available for exchange, and some classified as inaccessible lands.

There are some tracts that are inaccessible and only a minimum level of management is appropriate on them in the immediate future. Lands available for purchase or exchange may be used to acquire lands that will help meet resource needs, provide more efficient land ownership patterns, and reduce resource management costs.

Mineral exploration and extraction areas may be considered.

Throughout forest areas, management activities are usually limited, but may be very evident. Activities typically include only those needed to protect life, health, and safety of the incidental users; to prevent environmental damage caused by water, soil, pests, or fire on land of other owners of downstream areas; to plan and account for unavoidable local losses; and to meet other legal requirements. Avoiding land loss (at least as related to the objectives and profitability of the total area) is a clear objective. Achieving safety for workers is well established, but safety for guests and customers in the rural spaces are a special problem under constant study and changes. Protecting and enhancing landscape views made by the public of the working platforms is an on-going challenge and part of decisions made before managerial actions are taken.

See Alpha-Nearness Sequences lecture.

We are engaged in finding useful terms for our internal communications (perhaps others). We imagine land left and un-grazed and un-disturbed by people for over 50 years (its name)? We know "wilderness." We know "un-managed" and see lands often burned by fires from lightning starts. Lightning-caused fires controlled by humans (uncontrolled very large numbers in the Virginia Dismal Swamp lands??) Freshwater flooded areas; saline floods? human influenced? Not human-influenced? If, given unlimited influences of smoke, isotopes, fires, erosion, invading species, mining, groundwater changes, "climate change - 2016" ... together, now inseparable, we may no longer can determine the relevant changes caused by human action to "manage" the land... or any localized resource ... thus cannot determine the real value of any type of "natural resource management."

Asserting our success or achievement in any related field ... or specific area (e.g. a farm ownership), must be stated as having very broad "bounds" and uncertainties, and having high risks of properly describing the "a priori" condition likely-used for asserting a specific desired-change and the likely costs incurred for the final condition. "Managing land" from what condition to what desired (objectives-set) condition may now impossible ( by legal or other common statistical standards of comparison.) "Before" of "after" may now be criteria impossible (or impractical) to determine for scientific or for the temporary, best-effort strategies for timely decisions now used within Rural System (and under continual examination). We now know the Earth-around factors potentially influencing every likely area or Earth-space (at least an isotopic mix, micro-organisms, dust, rainfall, mountain shadows of solar radiation, floral and faunal extinctions, ice-caps melt, ocean-water intrusions, and ground water volumes and characteristics... and minimally-paired combinations of effects of changes in the listed factor... against which we may (must?) compare the results of our managerial activities.

Robert H. Giles, Jr.
July, 2009; October 28, 2009, 8-21-2016