• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Greg Martin
  • Leigh Tate

my final update on Al Baydha

 
Posts: 108
Location: around
34
  • Likes 16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Used to post here quite a bit and it's been quite a while, but...

Here's what happened after 9 years in the Saudi Desert:

 
pollinator
Posts: 769
Location: Ashhurst New Zealand
209
duck trees chicken cooking wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Neal, that is just spectacular. My hat is off to you and all the people who made this happen. Especially the guys who moved those boulders down the mountainside!

I grew up and lived for four decades in a desert that got six times the rainfall of this place, so I can only begin to appreciate the harshness of the setting. You have proved a model that can be adapted to dryland environments in many places and the results are just the beginning of a cascade of increasing hydration and fertility that will put future generations in a far better place.
 
Posts: 545
Location: Richwood, West Virginia
8
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The before and after views brought tears to my eyes.

More on the Hima practice of protecting forage lands from nomadic herdsmen:

Description
The hima is a traditional system of resource tenure that has been practiced for more than 1400 years in the Arabian Peninsula. It predates Islam, not necessarily in its existing form or after the introduction of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. In any case, the hima is the most widespread and longstanding indigenous / traditional conservation institution in the Middle East, and perhaps on Earth. This interaction between human being and nature constitutes an excellent example of Cultural Landscape (Continuing Landscape), so Med-O-Med has considered appropiated to include a file that comprises all the himas of Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Peninsula is the birthplace of the hima and the region where the hima has been most widespread. While some himas were established and managed directly by central governments for their cavalries or for other purposes. most of them were established and managed by local communities but recognized by the central governments. Most functioned as grazing reserves for restricted use by a village community, clan or tribe, which were set aside to allow regeneration as part of a grazing management strategy. In many cases, they provided sedentary agriculturalists with pastures that were insured against overexploitation by nomadic herders. In the 1960’s it was estimated that there were about 3,000 himas in Saudi Arabia. Nearly every village in the southwestern mountains of the country was associated with one or more himas. Other himas were in the northern and central regions. They varied from 10 to well over 1,000 hectares. Traditional himas made up a vast area of land under conservation and sustainable use, and, on the whole, they became the best-managed rangelands in the Arabian Peninsula. In Saudi Arabia’s revised protected area system plan, six to seven traditional himas are proposed for recognition as community conserved areas: -Hima al-Fawqa’ is a small hima of 1.5 sq km., located to the east of Baljurashi, in the ‘Asir Region. In contrast to the surrounding land, it is characterized by a remarkably dense plant cover of 47.2%, and a standing crop biomass 353.7g/sq. m. Forage was traditionally harvested by hand in times of drought, The women would cut fodder in designated portions on a rotational basis. Camels are allowed to graze in the hima and beehives are placed at the hima’s edge. According to the shaykh who manages the hima, local people in need are eligible to use it without regard to lineage. -Hima al-Azahirah, 7 sq km. in area, is situated east of Baljurashi, in Al-Bahah Region, and covers an important watershed in the headwaters of Wadi Ranyah. It is characterized by grassland with tall trees in the lower reaches. Its stone boundary wall was built in the 1980’s by 600 local volunteers, every Thursday over three years – an enormous investment of time and effort in conservation. The hima is patrolled on a voluntary basis, but the access track is in a poor state of repair, while this serves to protect the site by keeping it relatively inaccessible, it also makes the hima hard to monitor. -Hima Al Humayd, 5.3 sq km. in area, is likewise to the east of Baljurashi, in Al-Bahah Region, and is characterized by densely vegetated brushy hills and wooded valleys. It is used for pasturing camels and donkeys, sheep and goats are excluded. The stone boundary wall was built around 1980, although the hima is older. It appears well situated for nature-based recreation and ecotourism. -Hima Quraysh is 15 sq km. in area, and lies west of At-Ta’if, in the Makkah Region. It is densely vegetated with grasses and small shrubs, scattered acacias, olives, and junipers. The hima is managed by four local shaykhs, no domestic livestock are pastured except cattle, which are still used to plow small fields. It is used to some extent for honey production, and is well situated for nature-based recreation and ecotourism, it may also qualify as an Important Bird Area. -Jabal Ral, 69 sq km. in area, is a granite mountain located southeast of Al-Wajh, in the Tabuk Region. For over 200 years the Bili tribe has managed it as a reserve for ibex. No grazing of domestic livestock is permitted, the local community has fenced off the wadi that provides access to the mountain. As a result the vegetation is in excellent condition, in contrast to the surrounding plains. It is a strategic seedbank from which plants may disperse to rehabilitate the surrounding rangelands. While it clearly qualifies as a hima, it is unclear whether the local community conceives of it as such. -Hima al-Ghada was traditionally managed by the people of ‘Unayzah to conserve the Haloxylon persicum shrublands that dominate the local sand dunes and help to stabilize them. The district government of ‘Unayzah now manages the area in cooperation with the local communities, and it is proposed that this arrangement be formalized as a co-managed protected area. -One new proposed protected area, the Jabal Aja’ biosphere reserve, has been put forward as a pilot protected area embodying the hima concept, and has been recognized in the World Wide Fund for Nature WWF and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) Sacred Gifts for a Living Planet programme. This 2200 sq. km. area is the largest mountain massif in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula. A relative cool and moist Pleistocene refuge with ephemeral freshwater wetlands, it harbors relict plant and animal species that have disappeared from most parts of Arabia, and it constitutes a natural gene bank. With over 500 species of plants and vertebrate animals, it represents the greatest concentration of biodiversity in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula. It is an Important Plant Area and an important Bird Area, and with its spectacular scenery, it is well suited for environmental education, environmental recreation, and eco-tourism. A consultative framework is envisaged whereby the main stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including owners of the palm groves and wells and the livestock grazed in it, as well as representatives of the local communities, will participate in the planning and management of the hima.

from medomed.org



 
pollinator
Posts: 2814
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
370
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been following this project for years. I’m so pleased to see this final update, and what a spectacular result.

Congratulations to everyone involved.
 
gardener
Posts: 2049
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
457
trees food preservation solar greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Amazing video.

My heart was in my mouth when you cut off irrigation. And then wow, the after photos! I guess those lush bright green dangling things over the edges tof the terraces didn't make it? But the grass is spectacular! That's a lot of biomass, and the vision of having grazers on it sounds very promising.

I am tangentially connected to a regenerative project in Ladakh, in the Himalayas, which is about as dry but not nearly as hot as your location. I've sent the video to friends working on that project. It's so inspiring to see yours!
 
Neal Spackman
Posts: 108
Location: around
34
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rebecca those vines were just supposed to grow for a season and then provide some woody groundcover--they did their job.  Silvopasture was the objective after i'd been there for 3 months and realized the initial design we did was deeply flawed.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 380
Location: Monticello Florida zone 8a
114
homeschooling hugelkultur monies foraging wofati building wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Amazing!
 
pollinator
Posts: 319
73
dog trees books bee medical herbs
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What an inspirational video with a wonderful message! Thank you so much for what you and the other people have accomplished. So much to learn from that project!
 
pollinator
Posts: 417
Location: Southern Germany
194
kids books urban chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for posting the video, it was very inspirational! Great job, and respect for your perseverance.

I have lived myself on the West coast of the peninsula for years and explored a good part of the peninsula. It would be so great to see more projects like this. I am afraid an important part of the wildlife there is either extinct or vanishing. I remember seeing hordes of wild monkeys (in the 1980s), wulfs, and also (never seen by myself) the Oryx antelope and wild cats like leopards.

There is so much potential to start sustainable projects in the country, so your project is really uplifting.
 
gardener
Posts: 587
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
339
dog foraging trees tiny house books bike bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow. What an amazing project. I truly hope it is emulated elsewhere in the region. I have a few friends who have lived there, and their descriptions of the heat and the dryness is pretty incredible.

I wonder...  if a large area was restored in this way, and the groundwater recharged, and vegetation restored.... would it increase local rainfall and moderate the climate?  I know here in Canada beaver ponds in the mountains are known to affect rainfall amounts, I wonder if a similar effect might be true in Saudi Arabia, as well?

I look forward to seeing whatever it is you decide to pursue next!
 
Anita Martin
pollinator
Posts: 417
Location: Southern Germany
194
kids books urban chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts bee
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Catie George wrote:
I wonder...  if a large area was restored in this way, and the groundwater recharged, and vegetation restored.... would it increase local rainfall and moderate the climate?  I know here in Canada beaver ponds in the mountains are known to affect rainfall amounts, I wonder if a similar effect might be true in Saudi Arabia, as well?

I look forward to seeing whatever it is you decide to pursue next!


The city of Jeddah, located on the Red Sea, was a fishing village, very dry soil and barren.
In the sixties and seventies, the first foreigners came in substantial numbers. One of the addresses (no street names or numbers then) was "the house with the tree".
The city grew exponentially in the seventies and several desalination plants where built, each one much bigger than the last. The foreigners wanted gardens and trees, and they watered their gardens.
In consequence, the amount of rainfalls changed substantially.
The effect was even bigger as even outside the city there were long rows of nerium oleander along roads that stretched far out into the desert that were watered with sewage water - quite impressive (stinky!) if you met one of those sewer trucks.

The bigger the area that gets watered, the bigger the effect.
 
Neal Spackman
Posts: 108
Location: around
34
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Anita Martin wrote:Thanks for posting the video, it was very inspirational! Great job, and respect for your perseverance.

I have lived myself on the West coast of the peninsula for years and explored a good part of the peninsula. It would be so great to see more projects like this. I am afraid an important part of the wildlife there is either extinct or vanishing. I remember seeing hordes of wild monkeys (in the 1980s), wulfs, and also (never seen by myself) the Oryx antelope and wild cats like leopards.

There is so much potential to start sustainable projects in the country, so your project is really uplifting.



The monkeys are still there up by Taif--there's a new highway headed up that way.  The wulfs are still there too--still hunted by the bedou and hung outside their tent as a trophy/warning.  I never saw a leopard but a man a couple hours down the road accidently poisoned one a few years back and was thrown in jail for it--they're highly protected and respected at this point.  I have no idea where the oryx and hyraxes are at this point but they're out there.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 214
129
forest garden foraging trees books wofati food preservation fiber arts medical herbs solar rocket stoves greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is great and inspiring. Thank you for sharing with us!

Neal, do you have a print report somewhere that lists which tree and grass and other species were/are successful? I heard you mention that there are new acacias growing now, for example, which is great. At other times in the video, it looked like you might have some Prosopis and even some Parkinsonia species there. Is that right, or am I just seeing what I'm familiar with from our (more like 330mm/yr rainfall) high desert mesquite savanna (perhaps what I thought were mesquites were acacias -- we have and love both here, but the acacias right around us don't get as tall as the mesquite, so I tend to be thrown when I see other taller Acacia species)?

Near us, a rancher in the Chiricahua Mountains brought stonemasons up from Mexico to build checkdams and share their expertise. I was struck by the parallel of you-all bringing in Yemeni stonemasons for the stone terraces. Very inspiring. Thanks again!
 
Anita Martin
pollinator
Posts: 417
Location: Southern Germany
194
kids books urban chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Neal Spackman wrote:
The monkeys are still there up by Taif--there's a new highway headed up that way.  The wulfs are still there too--still hunted by the bedou and hung outside their tent as a trophy/warning.  I never saw a leopard but a man a couple hours down the road accidently poisoned one a few years back and was thrown in jail for it--they're highly protected and respected at this point.  I have no idea where the oryx and hyraxes are at this point but they're out there.  


That's great to hear.

It's a long time since I lived there and as the country was shut off until quite recently, it was not really easy to keep track of what is going on there.

In the pre-internet times it was not easy to get information on flora and fauna but we still managed to travel around quite a bit thanks to committed teachers and friends. I had the honour to meet John Gasperetti there and my family went to some excursions with the couple.

Thanks again!
 
Neal Spackman
Posts: 108
Location: around
34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Beth Wilder wrote:This is great and inspiring. Thank you for sharing with us!

Neal, do you have a print report somewhere that lists which tree and grass and other species were/are successful? I heard you mention that there are new acacias growing now, for example, which is great. At other times in the video, it looked like you might have some Prosopis and even some Parkinsonia species there. Is that right, or am I just seeing what I'm familiar with from our (more like 330mm/yr rainfall) high desert mesquite savanna (perhaps what I thought were mesquites were acacias -- we have and love both here, but the acacias right around us don't get as tall as the mesquite, so I tend to be thrown when I see other taller Acacia species)?

Near us, a rancher in the Chiricahua Mountains brought stonemasons up from Mexico to build checkdams and share their expertise. I was struck by the parallel of you-all bringing in Yemeni stonemasons for the stone terraces. Very inspiring. Thanks again!



Hi Beth,

Yes we trialled prosopis, parkinsonia, albizia, leucaena, faidherbia, casuarina, 2 different moringa species, commiphora, and ziziphus, plus all the local acacias that came up on their own.  There are others i would have liked to trial, but couldn't get the seed in or find a good source--particularly some african trees that i thought would do well.  
 
Beth Wilder
pollinator
Posts: 214
129
forest garden foraging trees books wofati food preservation fiber arts medical herbs solar rocket stoves greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Neal Spackman wrote:Yes we trialled prosopis, parkinsonia, albizia, leucaena, faidherbia, casuarina, 2 different moringa species, commiphora, and ziziphus, plus all the local acacias that came up on their own.  There are others i would have liked to trial, but couldn't get the seed in or find a good source--particularly some african trees that i thought would do well.


That's great, Neal, there's some there to add to our list to try! Can you tell us which ones of those worked there? I know it will be different everywhere, but I'm just curious.

Also, which Ziziphus species? We have one that's native around here, commonly called graythorn (Ziziphus obtusifolia), but jujubes (Ziziphus jujuba, I think, right?) also do pretty well most times. The former is sometimes quite unpalatable, unfortunately, depending on conditions like water. We have yet to find really good-tasting ones but will head for the seasonal creek for the next tasting.

Have the folks there in Al Baydha been able to start successfully using the thriving species for food, fodder, fuel, finance, etc., or not yet?
 
No, tomorrow we rule the world! With this tiny ad:
Simple Home Energy Solutions, battery bank videos
https://permies.com/wiki/151158/Simple-Home-Energy-Solutions-battery
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic