Category: Soil

Wonder Weeds

PIJ #63, June-Aug 1997 by Linda Woodrow How to harvest weeds for their best nutrients Sometimes gardening seems to me like alchemy. Organic material that is of no value to us is converted into organic material of high value, and, like alchemy, the process seems almost magic. Soil micro-organisms and plants do the converting, but they can’t do it without something to convert. The role of humans is to set […]

Read More >
13 Comments

Community-Based Rainforest Restoration Work is Huge Success in Borneo

In his twenty minute talk, Willie Smits (a Dutch forestry scientist who emigrated to Indonesia 20 years ago to help the country grow trees) explains how a chance encounter with a dying baby Orangutan changed the direction of his work – culminating not only in his creating the biggest orangutan rehabilitation center in the world, but also in restoring large tracts of rainforest in a community-based endeavour that is bringing […]

Read More >
6 Comments

Keyline Design – Mark IV

‘Soil, Water & Carbon for Every Farm’ – Building Soils, Harvesting Rainwater, Storing Carbon by Abe Collins & Darren Doherty Introduction Keyline Design was first developed by the great Australian, P.A. Yeomans (1904-1984), in the late 1940s & 50s initially as a practical response to the unpredictable rainfall regime he found on his new property, ‘Nevallan’, to the west of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Soil Conservation, as developed by […]

Read More >
0 Comment

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 […]

Read More >
13 Comments

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 […]

Read More >
3 Comments

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 […]

Read More >
5 Comments

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 […]

Read More >
35 Comments

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, […]

Read More >
7 Comments

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.

Read More >
3 Comments

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 […]

Read More >
0 Comment

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 […]

Read More >
3 Comments

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 […]

Read More >
2 Comments