Allan was born in Rhodesia, southern Africa. He pursued an early career as a research biologist and Game Ranger in the British Colonial Service of what was then Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia), and later as a farmer, game rancher, politician, and international consultant, based in Southern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe).
In the 1960s, while working on the interrelated problems of increasing poverty and disappearing wildlife, he made a significant breakthrough in understanding what was causing the degradation and desertification of the world’s grassland ecosystems. Since that time, he has consulted on four continents, developing sustainable solutions to this global problem. Most notably, his methodology of “holistic management” has demonstrated consistent results for thousands of land, livestock, and wildlife managers.
In 1979, Savory immigrated to the United States, where he co-founded the nonprofit organization Holistic Management International with his wife, Jody Butterfield. In 1992, they formed a second nonprofit (social welfare) organization Janine Drnear Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, the Africa Centre for Holistic Management, donating a ranch that would serve as a learning site for people all over Africa. Savory and the five local chiefs are permanent trustees of the Africa Centre. Savory and his wife divide their time between Zimbabwe and New Mexico.
Savory has been awarded the Banksia International Award for the person or organization doing the most for the environment on a global scale, and his current work in Africa continues to receive much praise and recognition. In 2010, the Africa Centre for Holistic Management received the Buckminster Fuller Award for the organization working to solve the world’s most pressing problems.