Land, Terraces — by Jonathan Davis April 4, 2013
Every geographic area has a resource waiting to be used. I want to talk about areas that have stone easily accessible. Rocks can seem to be a huge obstacle to design and productivity, but there are some valuable advantages that come with having usable stone. Some advantages to using stone in a design can be: freeing the soil of obstacles to plant growth, being able to use that removed stone for retaining walls or other structures, using land far beyond what common ideology says it is worth, using otherwise unused material and simple beauty. Rocky landscapes can be very advantageous to a permaculture designer.Comments (12)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 31, 2013
This excellent little 20-minute video does a great job of covering the basics of watershed management and landscape rehydration. You won’t hear the words ‘permaculture’ or ’swales’ once, but it’s clear that both are in use here, to great effect. If we can get these simple but profound concepts driven into social consciousness, and applied broadscale, we would see that investment in labour pay dividends, as many of our increasingly expensive natural disasters and resource limitations would simply disappear, as we reinstate nature’s own moderating capabilities.Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Earth Banks, Gabions, Land, Material, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces — by Daniel Halsey November 29, 2012
This year I have been in Haiti after a downgraded hurricane, and then in New Jersey a week after Sandy. While in New Jersey two tornadoes passed by my old house. What do they have in common?
In each case water was being limited in its flow by developement or the removal of natural structures that diffuse its energy. While working in Haiti and trying to build large enough swales to catch water, it was instantly apparent after the first five-inch rain that what we needed to do was slow it down and catch the sediment.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Consumerism, Dams, Deforestation, Demonstration Sites, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Population, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Swales, Terraces, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 24, 2012
As most of our readers will know, John D. Liu caught a vision years ago, and, thankfully, he ran with it. We’ve shared John’s excellent media work before (see here and here), and today have the pleasure of doing so again….
This new video, Green Gold, was first aired last month on Dutch TV, and will be shared at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (to a captive audience of influential representative delegates during their dinner!), which is being held next month in Brazil (20-22 June 2012).
The video takes you to China, Jordan (more background on the PRI Jordan project here), Ethiopia, Rwanda and Bolivia, and features the PRI’s own Geoff Lawton (and a cameo appearance from Nadia!), who adds impetus and technical know-how to John’s impressive toolbox, as well as the ‘Permaculture Princess‘ (Princess Basma bint Ali of Jordan), and others.
It’s the story of healing landscapes at scale, and, with it, restoring life, livelihoods, security and a future.Comments (6)
Courses/Workshops, Dams, Earth Banks, Land, Swales, Terraces — by Bonnie Freibergs December 15, 2011
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
This is a courtesy reminder to mention that the 10% ‘early bird’ discount ($110) for the January Permaculture Earthworks course being taught by Geoff Lawton at Zaytuna Farm will expire on Monday the 19th of December. If you’re planning to take part in this fantastic course, now’s the time to book.Comments Off
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Salination, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Dan Lewin November 11, 2011
An aerial view of the site
Although the landscape here could be seen as a model for scarcity, what there is an abundance of is rocks. The baked dusty earth barely passes for soil and during the summer there isn’t rain here for over six months. With valuable agricultural resources seemingly at a minimum, rocks can be incredibly valuable in the design of a sustainable human settlement. In the case of the Permaculture Research Institute of Jordan’s site (PRIJ), rocks have formed the main building blocks of the swales that form the back bones of this small farm. They surround the heavily mulched planting pits for the many varieties of trees here and they also can be used for another useful function which litres of my sweat has been testament to! They make up the substrate of the grey water system into which reeds are planted that feed on the water flowing through from the sinks and showers in the washing block.Comments (3)
Building, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Swales, Terraces, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Andrew Perlot August 11, 2011
Sandot Sukkaew explains the difference between his own organic rice paddies
and the chemically-treated ones in the background.
As the forests were felled, the life-giving water disappeared – Thai farmer Sandot Sukkaew made that critical connection decades ago while laboring in the mud of his father’s rice paddies, and he’s spent the past 20 years trying to remedy the situation.Comments (4)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Terraces, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 26, 2011
Many of you will remember the inspiring and encouraging example of earth restoration found in the story of the Loess Plateau in China (see links at bottom). John Liu was the man heavily involved in this amazing and very large scale initiative. In this new video, below, you’ll see Mr. Liu turning his eyes toward Africa, where Rwanda is now the focus of an earnest bid to restore its degraded forests and farmland, whilst simultaneously improving the lives of the communities they host. You’ll see many excellent examples of holistic thinking in this short documentary.
You’ll also learn of the praiseworthy work of Dr. Rene Haller, whose observational skills are highly adept at tailoring biological solutions towards rehabilitating the most degraded of lands.
Rwanda – Forests of Hope
Duration: 26 minutes
Conservation, DVDs/Books, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Limonia, Material, Natural Swimming, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Roads, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Surveying, Swales, Terraces, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Owen Hablutzel July 14, 2011
The volume reviewed below comes highly recommended for all Permaculturists working in or around any water channels, and particularly on the broad-acre. While the methods happen to apply most immediately in drylands, they will apply directly anywhere that erosion, down-cutting, rapid gully formation, and other forms of channel incision occur. Keep in mind that these techniques will also apply in ephemeral channels that only carry water during rare rain storms, and are otherwise ‘dry.’
Importantly, even if you are working more within mesic environments and do not see a lot of actively incising channels, just the knowledge you will gain about stream dynamics and working with various stream powers and flood-regimes will be applicable and invaluable to your work. These factors, such as the ‘bankfull’ flood, and the specific inter-relations and ratios of multiple stream variables remain the same as basic physics of water flow no matter what the environment. These physics will dictate exactly where and where not to place any kind of built structure within an active water channel, and enable you to predict results of your efforts with much greater precision. How many of us doing this kind of work have lost stream structures to a “gully-washer”? The knowledge and approach in this book could have saved many a headache, cash outlay, and enabled construction of more durable, persistent, and ultimately useful work.
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Earth Banks, Education Centres, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Swales, Terraces, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 7, 2011
I’m adding the following clips as a positive supplement to the preceding post. I think it’s important to see that positive work is happening, and that GMOs are not only not needed, but they are a definite threat to these excellent efforts. Permaculturists working, or intending to work, in Kenya could potentially find ways to network with organisations like these, and to offer extra design tools to further strengthen their efforts.
The first video is from the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), who look to be doing some great on-the-ground work to educate and transform Kenyan communities and help them return to more resilient, affordable and healthy agricultural and community systems.
This second clip, from The Haller Foundation, will be especially appreciated by permaculturists — it’s a fantastic video show-casing some excellent permaculture action, also in Kenya:Comments (4)
Observations and Interactions at the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Earth Banks, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Project Positions, Rehabilitation, Salination, Structure, Swales, Terraces, Urban Projects, Water Harvesting — by Christian Douglas March 30, 2011
Is it any wonder with daily reminders of the widening disparity between exponential population growth and water and food scarcity, so many of us begin to question the possibility of long term sustainable human habitation on the planet? Being a constant witness to damage caused by modern agricultural practices — motivated and driven largely by corporate greed — is proof enough that our ineffective systems have to change and come back into balance. My recent post in Jordan opened my eyes to this reality more than ever before.Comments (19)
Update on the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert, the Sequel’): “Leave All Expectations Behind”
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Swales, Terraces, Urban Projects, Water Harvesting — by Christian Douglas February 19, 2011
I felt fully prepared leaving for Jordan three weeks ago. Equipped with a 55ltr backpack laden with books, a compost thermometer, a dumpy level as hand luggage and a few well chosen words of advice from former patrons of the land: "Leave all expectations behind". In fact, as i remember correctly, it was to "flush them down the toilet". Within hours of my arrival it became rapidly apparent that would become the most useful thing I was to bring with me, or rather didn’t bring, as the case may be.Comments (17)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Earth Banks, Gabions, Land, Swales, Terraces — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 14, 2011
Do you remember Geoff’s recent Saudi Arabia consultation? Well, left behind in the Kingdom as project manager to implement the work is Neal Spackman. Neal has kindly followed up on my request for reports, providing the video and images below. After the video I’ll give you a little more swivel-chair commentary based on info I’ve had via email.
The new site recently sustained heavy rainfalls. Older locals said it was the biggest storm the area has seen in more than twenty years. It was great timing for the fledgling project, as it gave opportunity to show exactly where the incomplete system required more work, and where it was working well.
The following image of a road busted up by one of the flash floods gives a decent concept of how much rainfall suddenly descended down hillsides largely devoid of any vegetation that would otherwise slowed its progress and reduced its destructive force:Comments (17)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Earth Banks, Education Centres, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Regional Water Cycle, Roads, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Terraces, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland October 8, 2010
One of the biggest challenges of doing Permaculture in a semi-arid place like Konso is the drought-flood hydrology besets in degraded dry-lands. The whole of south Ethiopia has now been so deforested, added to the fact that the global climate is getting completely messed up, that rainfall is now completely unpredictable. The old folks are always talking about it here – “you can’t tell when it will rain any-more, it’s not like the old days….” That makes planning plantings much harder for one thing. The other thing is that when it does rain, it pours.
Our site at Strawberry Fields is placed (purposefully) at the bottom of a watershed and at the junction of this watershed and a larger watershed which carries run-off down the main road from the town.
Rough Topographic sketch of the site at SFEL. Shows approximate
positions of the 3 ridges (R1,R2, R3 and 3 primary gulleys G1, G2 and G3
as well as the Main Gulley on as well as the 2 main flows of run-off
effecting the site.
Alternatives to Political Systems, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Conservation, Consumerism, Dams, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Gabions, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Plant Systems, Population, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Swales, Terraces, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 6, 2010
The world is coming unglued. The world burns. What are we going to do about it?
Map of fires in Russia
As I type, half of Russia is on fire after its hottest summer on record, Pakistan is dealing with the biggest floods in living memory and Australia is still in the clutches of a decade long drought. The last decade, worldwide, was the hottest since records began, and 2010 may break the records of 1998 and 2005 to become the hottest year we’ve ever known. We could spend weeks just examining the extreme weather events going on on a country by country basis.Comments (14)