Conservation, Dams, Irrigation, Land, Rehabilitation, Surveying, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Mark Feineigle February 22, 2013
Freshly keyline plowed (Photo: Kirsten Bradley)
Plan the work then work the plan. — P.A. Yeomans
In the mid 1950s, Australian engineer P.A. Yeomans demonstrated a new system of land management he called the Keyline system. The consensus of the time, championed by people like Dr H.H. Bennett, was that soil was a finite resource and that once depleted “it was irretrievably lost as if consumed by fire”. P.A. understood that long natural carbon cycles create soil, but also knew that this process takes hundreds or thousands of years. By adjusting the conditions in the soil with his plowing and management techniques, P.A. was able to speed this process and create dozens of millimeters of fertile topsoil in just one year.Comments (5)
Aquaculture, Compost, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Fungi, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Surveying, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Richard Perkins September 15, 2012
A reflection following a great time finding solutions for dryland water management in Portugal
I’m enjoying working on a job connecting up extensive irrigation in the mountains of Extremadura, Spain, and relaxing for a couple of days after a successful and effective Dryland Water Management intensive at the budding Permaculture Institute, Vale De Lama, near Lagos in the South of Portugal.
This week we have been looking at all aspects of water design, focusing mostly on this varied site where all manner of interventions are necessary to halt the onslaught of the desertification process and regenerate the diverse mixed polycultures and rich soils that had a biological diversity comparative to more tropical regions at one time.
Something that is clear after working so intensively with integrative and regenerative systems design around the globe in different climate zones is that most places I turn up at have been degraded heavily and the localized cultural approach and ecological understanding is often limited by familiarization with the current conditions and often destructive agricultural practices.Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Land, Plant Systems, Surveying — by Rick Pickett August 28, 2012
In our three-years of experience in the Peruvian Amazon we’ve learned that equipment and techniques tried and proven elsewhere often don’t function well here. The combination of primitive infrastructure, intense heat, and high humidity wreaks havoc with equipment. Luckily for us, and the community of Mazán, we have Rick Pickett to apply truly useful technology to our project. (And, thankfully, his technology has yet to fall victim to the jungle.)*Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Building, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Surveying, Swales, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Melissa Andrews August 23, 2012
Olive trees stand the test of time in Palestine
All images © Christopher List Photography
It was a brisk, rather harried morning when my husband, photographer Christopher List, and I set off on a trip to delve deeper into the relatively unheard of phenomenon of permaculture.
It felt like only yesterday when we’d announced to friends and family that were were going to Palestine, to study a 14-day intensive permaculture course. After discovering some of the principles of permaculture on a recent trip to SA, I knew we were in for a gruelling, yet worthwhile experience.Comments (4)
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.
Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Limonia, Rehabilitation, Roads, Storm Water, Surveying, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Steve Grace May 12, 2011
The sun works on an 11 year cycle over which it radiates heat at varying levels upon the earth. The cycle is observed by counting the frequency and placement of sunspots visible on the sun. Currently we are at a peak of the cycle whereby the sun is radiating a maximum amount of heat and energy. This means increased evaporation off the oceans’ waters and therefore increased precipitation over our lands. When the sun moves towards its less generative stage of the cycle, less evaporation occurs, which means less precipitation and impending dry conditions.
And so the rains have come down upon Zaytuna farm — 111mm in 5 days. The dams are full to the freeboard, the swales are soaking in the sediment, the spillways are spilling, the swivel pipes are swivelling, the soil is having a regeneration party, and the plants are just hangin’ out doing their thing.
And the earthworks have been stopped in their tracks….Comments (2)
Dams, Land, Surveying, Swales — by Marty Miller-Crispe January 26, 2011
One of the principles of permaculture is to ‘observe’. Having started in permaculture about 18 months ago I’d like to share some of my observations, especially in regards to my own behaviour, assumptions and, importantly, mistakes I’ve made along the way.
Back in October, 2009, having just discovered permaculture, my wife and I became very excited about the possibilities for our 8-acre property in the Gold Coast hinterland in Queensland, Australia. Our property is on the side of a hill, and formerly having horses as tenants, it has hard, stony, compacted earth with a number of areas of erosion caused by fast flowing water after rain events. For us to have any hope of growing anything useful here, other than the few struggling natives, we needed to perform some major earth surgery.
Courses/Workshops, Dams, Developments, Gabions, Land, Surveying, Swales — by Nick Huggins August 13, 2010
Final colour master plan
Experience? Well yes, but that’s something that you can learn along the way. You don’t need to be the World’s best Graphic artist or AutoCAD genius, but you do need to be creative, have an eye for landscape patterning and a PDC in hand.
I just finished my first Permaculture design commission and I was hoping to share some of the process with you. Within the 11 years of experience with my own landscape design firm, I rarely put pen to paper with design. I found success even while employing experienced people to draw plans and document. My job then, like now, is main-frame design. I leave the finer points to specialists.Comments (15)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Eco-Villages, Economics, Education Centres, Food Shortages, Land, Networking Sites, People Systems, Social Gatherings, Society, Surveying, Swales, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Jeannette Martin April 12, 2010
Mullumbimby’s community garden is blossoming into a hive of activity with people from all walks of life building, creating and gardening together. Our communal gardens and new allotments are now brimming with organic fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers while 18 "Pods" (special interest groups) develop programs and projects that are launching MCG into a sustainable living education centre.Comments (2)
Community Projects, Surveying, Swales, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 15, 2009
Geoff Lawton and Jennette Martin (Community Gardens Coordinator)
check the site plan before starting to survey
Today we headed east to "the biggest little town in Australia" (I don’t know how they came to take that name, but I’m sure one of our readers can enlighten us). Mullumbimby (or just ‘Mullum’ to the locals, or ‘Mumblebum’ if they’re feeling chipper), with a population of only 3,129, is a pretty little village in Byron Shire – close to the famous surfing town of Byron Bay.Comments (4)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Land, Limonia, Rehabilitation, Roads, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Surveying, Swales, Terraces, Water Harvesting — by Darren Doherty March 16, 2009
‘Soil, Water & Carbon for Every Farm’ – Building Soils, Harvesting Rainwater, Storing Carbon
by Abe Collins & Darren Doherty
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 the US Army Corp of Engineers was the predominant practice of the time and for a time Yeomans was influenced by this, though soon found some deficiencies with the pattern of water flow its application expressed. Yeomans went on to devote the rest of his life to the promotion, research and development of Keyline Design and in doing so was labelled by Permaculture co-originator Bill Mollison as "…one of Australia’s greatest patriots… ".
Influenced by the likes of prominent organic agriculture figures in Andre Voison, Friend Sykes, Newman Turner & Louis Bromfield (among many others!) Yeomans has been attributed with being the 1st person to accelerate soil formation through the stacking of methods, overturning the myth that it took 1,000 years to create an inch of topsoil. Yeomans proclaimed that "…the landman’s job is not so much to conserve soil as it is to develop soil, to improve his soil and to make it more fertile than it ever was…".Comments (0)
Dams, Earth Banks, Surveying, Swales, Terraces — by Darren Doherty September 11, 2008
by Darren Doherty of Permaculture.biz
An example of the results
Click for larger view
I developed a technique in 2007 during a Keyline Design Course at Tuscon, Arizona for making a contour map using cheap available materials. One of our students didn’t have the cash to get a surveyor to do the job on his 40 acres, so I came up with this solution on the whiteboard and have since tested it on the ground quite a few times now.
Using a Bunyip/Water Level, A Frame, Laser Level or Dumpy/Automatic Level mark out a contour line using stakes or pin markers (see below for an alternative to this technique in some circumstances).Comments (6)
Courses/Workshops, Dams, Land, Surveying, Swales, Water Harvesting — by sink February 27, 2008
Last training camp we were fortunate in having an excavator in operation on the farm. Earthworks were a go and water harvesting / tree growing systems were carved out harmonically into the landscape. Three new swale systems and a small dam were introduced, extending the productive edges on the farm. Click for more…Comments (0)