Thanks for posting this, John! Our slow internet connection has trouble with the website. It looks like one of their primary approaches is very similar to zai pits, only they're heaping the dirt from the little pit up on one side as a berm and calling it a bund. Does that seem right to those who've been able to get greater access to the site? Are there other techniques shown that I'm just not able to see?
I've wondered if others have tried building/accumulating essentially drylands brush dams (intended to accumulate drifting organic material rather than -- or in addition to -- slowing down water). We had a big thorny mesquite branch that we'd trimmed to make room for our garden fence, and I dragged it over between two acacias to form a partial barrier around an area I want to seed with wildflowers for the pollinators, to help keep cows out of there and let it get established without erecting another "dead fence" (of T-posts and barbed wire or chickenwire or whatever combination). Green things have started to accumulate around that thorny branch, and it gave my partner the idea of using thorny mesquite and acacia deadwood to start "fencing" some more remote land we have in some arid foothills (predominantly creosote, acacia, ocotillo, agave, sotol, etc. -- whereas our home property is more like high desert mesquite grassland savanna), basically let nature start building us a living fence. We'd add cacti and ocotillo and wolfberry and other things to it as we're able, over time, whenever we go up there.
We've already started bringing seeds of native plants like wild tepary beans, desert willow (Chilopsis linearis), etc. we've collected whenever we go up to that land, and leaving them behind in likely-seeming places. (There are dry arroyos throughout the property that create lots of different microclimates.) That part seems much like Kostas' excellent regreening work in Greece, only on a much smaller scale in our case. Since we've successfully used small-scale earthworks (sunken beds and rows, floodwater diversion ditches, swales and berms, etc.) to good effect on the land around our home, it would make great sense to seed in zai pits or bunds as part of that long-term effort. Maybe the thorny brush dam "fencing" should also incorporate a shallow depression that would help hold the brush and accumulating organic matter and seeds, etc. until living growth starts to lock it into place as well as retain moisture to help those things grow?
What do you all think?
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