Category: Soil

Report on our Iranian Consultancy Trip of December 2008

Editor’s Note: Iran has been making headlines in the media a great deal over the last few years. Here’s a side to the story you don’t normally get to hear, as experienced by our own Geoff Lawton. We are applying Permaculture techniques to restore the landscape in the hottest place on the planet In December 2008 it was our great pleasure and honour to be invited to Iran to work […]

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Greening the Desert Project Outcomes Profiled

Most readers will be familiar with the awesome, seemingly miraculous work Geoff and Nadia Lawton accomplished with the ‘Greening the Desert‘ project in Jordan (not to be confused with the new Jordan Valley Permaculture Project, where completely new miracles are under way). Well, this work has now been well profiled in the ProAct Network’s recent release: The Role of Environmental Management in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, Annex […]

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Street Orchards for Community Security

Street Orchards for Community Security

© Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com Fig. 24.The heat island effect. An excessively wide, exposed, solar-oven-like residential street in Tucson, Arizona absorbs the sun’s heat during the day like a battery, then radiates it out at night. This local warming effect has raised summer temperatures in Tucson by 6°F (3°C) since the 1940s, which contributes to global warming since the higher temperatures result in people using air conditioners more, which are powered […]

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Vetiver Grass – A Hedge Against Erosion

PIJ #54, March – May 1995 Soil erosion is perhaps the world’s most chronic environmental problem that is literally costing the earth. The soil it carries off now totals 20 billion tons a year and this loss is not only severely degrading the environment, it is eroding the economic viability of countries. Despite enormous effort, standard soil conservation methods have been largely unsuccessful. However, a remarkable tropical grass may hold […]

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Phosphorus Matters

Part One: Closing the Phosphorus Cycle Phosphate mine on Nauru island. Currently part of it is reforested. Photo: Jon Harald Søby It might sound ridiculous, but for every container of bananas, coffee, tea or cocoa imported, we should send back a shipment of a fluffy, earth-like smelling compost. Why is that? With each container of food we import nutrients taken up by plants from the soil. We import calcium, potassium, […]

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Planting Trees and Managing Soils to Sequester Carbon

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute, Washington D.C., U.S.A. As of 2007, the shrinking forests in the tropical regions were releasing 2.2 billion tons of carbon per year. Meanwhile, expanding forests in the temperate regions were absorbing 0.7 billion tons of carbon annually. On balance, a net of some 1.5 billion tons of carbon were being released into the atmosphere each year, contributing to global warming.

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The Rise and Predictable Fall of Globalized Industrial Agriculture

Today I’d like to introduce you to a (well written and beautifully presented) report, titled – ‘The Rise and Predictable Fall of Globalized Industrial Agriculture‘ (55 page, 2.4mb PDF). The title says it all. Should you be concerned? Yes. Your concern, however, should not be that the globalised industrial agribusiness model will collapse – this is not only inevitable, but also necessary, and, might I add, desirable – the focus […]

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Adaptable Acacias

by Leza Bennetts and Erika Birmingham Acacias are evergreen, nitrogen-fixing plants ranging in form from ground covers to tall trees. There are more than 1200 species worldwide. There are many roles for acacias in permaculture design such as increasing soil fertility through nitrogen fixation, rehabilitation of degraded soils and in reforestation. They are useful for erosion control due to their rapid growth and effective seed dispersal, and many species sucker […]

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Trees Giving Up Battle, But Sustainable Farming Offers Hope

The silver bullet solution to climate change in many people’s book is to simply ‘plant a tree’. A recent study indicates that it might not be quite that simple… The ability of forests to soak up man-made carbon dioxide is weakening, according to an analysis of two decades of data from more than 30 sites in the frozen north. The finding published today is crucial, because it means that more […]

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Nitrogen Fixing Trees – The Multipurpose Pioneers

The myths about the wonders of nitrogen fixing trees are many. Craig Elevitch (see bio at bottom) and Kim Wilkinson explain how to use them effectively. Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Permaculture Flowers of the leguminous tree, Kowhai, the national flower of New Zealand Nitrogen fixation is a pattern of nutrient cycling which has successfully been used in perennial agriculture for millennia. This article focuses on legumes, which are nitrogen fixers […]

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Humanure Handbook – Free Download

With chapters like ‘Crap Happens’, ‘Deep Shit’ and ‘A Day in the Life of a Turd’, this is sure to be an interesting book, albeit possibly not one to read over lunch? With this wonderful substance piling up in all the wrong places (after all, we’re running out of clean water, and yet we’re crapping in it…), this taboo topic deserves a lot more attention than it gets. The book […]

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Water Worries

Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. – Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834). The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, II If you look down on our earth from space, the predominant colour is blue. The surface of our earth is approximately 70% water. In that respect, perhaps our planet would have been better called the Ocean, than the Earth. Yet, […]

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