Mid 2004 News
Kachana Pastoral Company taking stock mid 2004...
- What will the market demand in 2010?
- What does Kachana Pastoral Company need to develop to financially justify continuity of tenure in 2015?
- What do we wish to leave in our wake?
The one-word answer to all three is "opportunity".
Danny and I believe that healthy functional landscapes underpin any economy. We thank our families for their support while we continue to build our business on this notion.
If national economies are to be sustained in the face of current and looming environmental challenges, consumer capitalism will eventually need to be replaced by natural capitalism*. This process can only take place business-by-business and production-site-by-production-site as individuals begin to accept the logic of rebuilding the foundations of economy. Its success however hinges on public support and the successful implementation of appropriate knowledge.-The knowledge to do this has always existed; motivation and incentive has not; hence the lack of education in this area and prevailing environmental illiteracy (both at community levels as well as in government).
The market** cannot be changed: Supply & Demand dynamics will prevail…
As nations have become sidetracked by an illusion of wealth and comfort underpinned by high-tech and regulation, crucial skills have been all but lost…
But perhaps prevailing "Demand" is poised to change from "willing buyers" to people desperate to ensure survival and to people who wish to find meaning in their work:
If so, low-tech skill-acquisition will once again be in "Demand". This is a demand we hope to cater for. It is a demand that will by necessity be pay-rolled by society at large once the economic relationships between ecological health, human health and prosperity are better understood.
Rather than a focus on the building of commercial production sites, the current Kachana Pastoral Company focus is: To gather and to disseminate working knowledge on how to return "idle" or "desertifying" land back to some form of ecologically sound productivity.
(While we do this we are building a series of working models. Any commercially viable primary-production components that we incorporate into our strategy, serve primarily to enhance our credibility within a paradigm where cash-flow remains the dominating measure of "value". We also rely on commercial viability to continue our work, but primary production does not yet offer us the most efficient avenue.)
It seems that there is any amount of theory and advice available, but the rate of implementation of ecologically sound practices and responses appears to be too slow to meet current challenges. Even if experience or education furthers a demand for new management technologies, it is the lack of skill that remains the limiting factor to the effective adoption of triple-bottom line practices. The logical progression of our work is therefore not to get big, but to maintain a focus on skill-training and to encourage a network of other training sites like Kachana in other ecological hot-spots.
First hand knowledge of the situation in Zimbabwe shows us:
- What is possible
- What can happen when governance is influenced by environmentally illiterate power-brokers: www.sokwanele.com (In this case a despot has in recent decades compounded a problem that was initiated some time during the 19th century when Southern African eco-system processes were disrupted by European forms of land-use.)
Natural capitalism: reinvesting returns into building and strengthening assets so that consumption can be based on disposable "interest" rather than on exploitable "principle".
The market: the time/place where production turns into consumption.
While the sun shines each day and while rain falls each season and while we still have wind in our sails, we follow our quest to create "opportunity".
- The Alligator Creek Project is promising. There is even a chance for this project to speed ahead if we are successful in our bid for some KSRP funding (Kimberley Sustainable Rural Programs).
- We look forward to another stimulating workshop next month. More below.
May the season be kind to you all!
Warm greetings from the Kachana team.
Information on Kachana Workshops supplied by Kachana Pastoral Company, July 2004:
IT’S THE RESULTS THAT COUNT!
Is the notion of using domesticated grazing animals to cycle carbon and to build soil scientifically sound?
Is this a management option in the broader landscape areas of arid Australia?
Much debate surrounds this issue and scientific arguments range across a broad spectrum. Land mangers are confronted with many scenarios. Not all seem plausible and local knowledge lacks the scientific authority to challenge departmental decree. Two scenarios strike a chord with those whose lively-hood depends on primary production…
Tim Flannery argues a case of a finite resource base in which humans have apparently been instrumental in the demise of Australia’s mega-fauna, an associated wild-fire holocaust and resource crash. The result was a delicate ecological balance sustained by aboriginal burning practices. This balance is now at risk of further decline and our management will determine our future. (“The Future Eaters” by Tim Flannery)
The Allan Savory school of thought suggests that four fundamental eco-system processes are continually at work in the shaping of what we see around us. Energy from the sun drives these processes enabling terrestrial systems to be part of a manageable and renewable resource base. Almost every human action can at some point in time be correlated to a direct impact on one or more of these eco-system function processes. The key to sustainability therefore lies not in what we humans actually do, but in the context within which we humans make our decisions. Savory is instrumental in influencing land-managers around the world to take a deeper look at the highly dynamic situations they deal with and then to define a single long-term goal that includes a description of the resource base (now and how it must be), the needs of the people who depend on those resources and what needs to happen to satisfy those needs. (“Holistic Management - A New Framework for Decision Making” by Allan Savory with Jody Butterfield)
Kachana Pastoral Company seeks to demonstrate practical options to address issues at the core of the sustainability debate. Kachana in-put to the debate can be found here.
We invite public scrutiny and each year we share the viewing of our results at our annual Kachana Landscape Management Workshop.
This year we host Holistic Management pioneer Sam Bingham from Denver, USA and Dr. Andrew Storey Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Animal Biology from the University of Western Australia as guest speakers. Also with us are two students of forestry engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; they will present us with an insight to how this European learning institution prepares its people to address new and ongoing environmental challenges.
Workshop participants get an insight to management principles, guidelines and methods applied on Kachana:
- The “tool” we primarily use is a small working herd of trained cattle.
- The “process” we use is Holistic Management
- The “skills” we develop for this sort of work come with practice in real life situations and are built upon a basic knowledge of Environmental Literacy, of Low-Stress Stockhandling and of the Soil Foodweb (not necessarily in that order).
- The “result” is radical modification of ecosystem function. (Click here for an indication of what “radical modification of eco-system function with the use of biological agents" means.)
Kachana Workshops attract a small but diverse spectrum of key people each year. Participants get to Kachana by air during a low-level flight in a light aircraft. The venue is the very landscape that is the subject matter of these workshops: an open air-classroom, field-walks and camping.
Reports on past workshops can be found here.
Workshop themes are drawn from a spectrum of grass-roots challenges facing communities in arid environments. Each workshop is filmed. Video footage will be processed once we are in a position to offer a comprehensive overview of the actual working knowledge and skills required to achieve the sort of landscape goals that we encourage.
The next Kachana Workshop is: 1st, 2nd and 3rd September 2004
This year's theme:
"BIOMASS; an ecological stabiliser in productive landscapes"
Participants congregate at the Alligator Airways terminal in Kununurra at 05:00 am for a dawn flight to Kachana: Alligator Creek strip from where we move 12 km to the main camp on that day.
Day-one includes: introductions; aims of KACHANA PASTORAL COMPANY; water-shed rehabilitation; methods used; a demo of high animal impact.
Day-two mid morning: Guest speaker: Internationally active human- cum natural-resource consultant, author and Certified Holistic Management Educator Sam Bingham will talk on “Megafaunal biomass and its role in our landscapes”
We touch on what happened in Southern Africa ( http://managingwholes.com/klipdrift.htm ) and in the Americas and then draw parallels to Australia and where we stand in terms of eco-system function what may be possible if we wish to achieve it.
(Sam is also the author of “The Last Ranch – A Colorado Community and the Coming Desert” and co-author (with Allan Savory) of the first “Holistic Resource Management Work book” ISBN 0-933280-70-X)
That afternoon Dr Andrew Storey Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Animal Biology from the University of Western Australia shares a presentation on “Aquatic biomass and its role in our Landscapes”
Day-three includes field-walks and a wrap-up session.
Past and future workshop topics include:
- "What is happening to our soils?" This is explored in discussion
- “What exactly is biomass?" This is explored in discussion
- “Static biomass and its role in our landscapes” This is explored in discussion
- “Megafaunal biomass and its role in our landscapes” Sam Bingham 2004
- “Micro-organism biomass and its role in our landscapes” (Some of this was covered by Elaine Ingham in 2003...)
- “Aquatic biomass and its role in our Landscapes” Andrew Storey 2004
- “Should we express carbon credits in the form of faunal biomass?” Discussion topic
- “Safe food” (Kester Baines covered this in 2002)
- “Safe fertilisers and agricultural practices: happy healthy people” (2005 Workshop) covered before in 2002)
- “The role of humans in our landscapes” (2006 Workshop)
- “Landscapes: to what extent are they human artefacts?” (2006 Workshop)
- “Who holds the key to sustaining civilisation?” (2007 Workshop)
- “Who should be directing research?” (2007 Workshop)
All donations towards covering the travel expenses of Guest Speakers are gratefully accepted.
All donations towards the Byrne Terry Ellenbrae Fund are gratefully accepted.
If you or your organization would like to be a sponsor of the Annual Kachana Landscape Management Workshop, please contact: Danny at , Lee at or Chris at