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A.H.

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How do we prepare our landscapes for the rain we expect?

How well do we prepare our landscapes for the unexpected?

Bare ground sheds water fast and subsequently loses moisture through evaporation.
It really does not matter if we are talking about one square meter, one hectare, one square kilometre, a ranch, a state, a country or a continent…
It really does not matter if the land is in a temperate or in a tropical zone…
The same natural laws apply and nature will respond in its own unique way in every situation and the results will be “natural”…

BUT:


Flooding in progress after 4mm of rain.

As little as three millimetres of rain will bring on a “flood” at the microenvironment level… Altitude and distance then dictate what will happen downstream. (Often those then affected blame it on the season, unusually high rainfall, bad luck, etc.)


Rain-water running off bare compacted 
ground after four millimetres of rain.

A poor water cycle means:

  • Poor water catchment
  • Poor water retention
  • Poor productivity
  • An impoverished environment
  • Poverty (if your livelihood depends on that environment)
  • Poverty (if that is the sort of landscape that we hand on to future generations)
  • Conflict (if our heirs are dissatisfied with what they have to live off)

Both drought and flooding are common symptoms of a poor water-cycle.

High levels of “animal-impact” will reduce the run-off from small showers of rain.

  • What happens if we get a 10-millimetre shower?
  • What happens if we get a 20-millimetre shower?
  • What happens if we get a 30-millimetre shower?
  • What happens if we get a 50-millimetre shower?
  • What would happen downstream?

Ground cover as well as “animal-impact” will further reduce run-off.

  • What happens if we get a 10-millimetre shower?
  • What happens if we get a 20-millimetre shower?
  • What happens if we get a 30-millimetre shower?
  • What happens if we get a 50-millimetre shower?
  • What would happen downstream?

“Animal-impact” also provides for additional ground-cover and better rainfall-infiltration into the soil. Dung-beetles not only take carbon down into the soil, they create air-passages, water-pipes and subways for small organisms, and more…

So now:

  • What happens if we get a 10-millimetre shower?
  • What happens if we get a 20-millimetre shower?
  • What happens if we get a 30-millimetre shower?
  • What happens if we get a 50-millimetre shower?
  • What would happen downstream?

By changing rain-drops from bomb-shells to mist-irrigators…
By using large herbivores to prune, mulch and fertilise vegetation…

We make better use of:

  • A 1-millimetre shower
  • A 4-millimetre shower
  • A 10-millimetre shower
  • A 20-millimetre shower
  • A 30-millimetre shower
  • A 50-millimetre shower
  • We can even handle a 100-mm shower!

And we would be releasing clear clean water down-stream.

As we turn self-destructive trends in a landscape into life-enhancing cycles our options increase.

By restoring an effective water-cycle, we also begin to trap more sunlight-energy; minerals instead of being leached out or washed away cycle through various life-forms and remain in the area.

Our soil, our plants and our animals are in effect our natural capital. The balance we notice is often the balance we managed for… consciously, sub-consciously or un-consciously…

Landscape Management:

  • Threat or opportunity…
  • Poverty or wealth…
  • Illness or health…
  • To be or not to be…

“Landscape Management” will remain a key issue for generations to come.
We believe effective Landscape Management to be one of the greatest challenges facing the next generation; we also believe it to be one of the most exciting:

In other words: getting nature back on side…
(Or is it simply joining sides with Nature and learning to work with the aw-inspiring forces that shape our landscapes?)

This message was tabled by Kachana Pastoral Company, March 2004.