One doocumentary was about planting young trees seedlings with a lot of town rubbish accompanying them in the hole they were planted in and another about a food for work program of the UNs near Alexandria if i remember right. The work was taking out muck to scatter it in the desert everyday as part of a rejuvinate the desert program. The other part of the UN program was shutting off one bit of the desert to stop nomads with camels going there so that the desert plants could grow undisturbed and the desert get better for a few years, an attempt to stop overgrazing by camels. In another bit of desert they had only reduced the amount of camels alowed in, this was also around Alexandria i think, the problem with documentaries is I have not made a collection off them and cannot cheque up on the information when i write about them. agri rose macaskie.
theyve been spraying the desert in kuwait and in sudan, I beleive, with oil.
the deserts are growing. recall that a few thousand years ago sudan was a jungle and kuwait a garden
so the story goes that its pretty cheap to spray crude oil around when it comes up out of the ground like water...
and it turns out that bacteria can eat the crude if the mix of oxygen is right,
and the result is organic matter that stabilizers sand dunes.
do I like it aesthetically? nope. but scientifcally, and ethically if the reports im reading are sound, it has some validity and is perhaps worth a think...
that said, you cant go wrong with geoff lawtonsw work in jordan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohI6vnWZmk
and there are some good follow up vids that go more in depth if you look for them.
september 3, 2010
I have found a you tube video on it it is called, (the desert jihad- iran) meaning, in this case, the fight against the desert not us. I have looked at it again and it says that the petrol which they spray on hold the moisture into the earth and it sticks the sand together stopping it from getting moved around by the wind. I don't know if they use crude petrol or refined petrol or semi refined petrol and in what quantity and what part of the year they spray it on befor ethe spring rains for example or autumn rain anyold time. They scrape it off four or five years later.
In the video he shows us how damp the sand is a few mouths after the desert has been sprayed picking up a handfull of sadn and the sand looks damp in the video. They plant in the sand a few mounths after spraying it when the damp has collected in the sand under the petrol mulch. agri rose macaskie.
did that help... ? i still haven't found online reference to the work (I think the article was in a print copy of Nat Geo, from @ 2007...at my parents home...far away...)
Paul stamets had oyster mushrooms completely breaking down petrol, turning into hydro carbides into carbo hydrates i suppose the important thing is not that they coudl do it but that the hydro carbides didnot kill the oyster mushrooms before they coudl digest the petrol.. Problem with Paul Stamets is he is mad enough to also approve hallucinagenic mushrooms he thinks his creative abilitiy is due to them not him or some fluke in his education that encouraged him to hunt down answers instead of accepting the world as it is presented to him by other cooks and there do exist so strange things in the world but hallucinagenic things see to be such a nuiscance to some that it is better not to promoote them.
He says as the petrol molecules are basically the same turned round as carbohydrates, if you have a mushroom that can break the bounds between the atoms of one molecule it can do the same wtih the other and he proved it. i have a book that has some diagrams of mprotein an dsugar and starch molecules if i draw them out and post them maybe it would be easier to understand
Its quite gutsy to promote hallucinagenic drugs in this climate though i believe mistaken. geoff lawton says that something he planted has made the salt inert or done something with it maybe he knows about bioremediation and seeded it with a mushroom or bacteria that gets rid of salt.Maybe if you put enough in their will be something there that gets rid of salt.I wonder did he innocultae it with fungi because he knew enough about bioremediation to think hta tmaybe one or other of the things he put in might work though he didnot know which i think we need paul Stamets and other scientists checking out the place and explaining which of what he did worked to deal with the salt, the information would be so usefull for others in other places . agri rose macaskie.
I have tried to find a reference to this again by looking up the Thar desert and the feeding of cranes but though i have found stories of how they feed the cranes, i have not come acroos another reference to how this made the deserts fertile when it did rain how the generosity repaid them ecologically. agri rose macaskie.
They also said thses jerbils store enormouse amounts of vegetation underground for the winter or just for, just in case. I can't help thinking that an animal who takes vegetable matter underground must be really good for deserts. In hot countries vegetable matter gets broken down quicker than in cold ones and has less time to make good soils.This makes it less valuable for the ground i imagine. If it where underground wouldn't it break down, rot, slower and really become part of the earth and leave its nitrogen at the reach of the roots of the plants and where the wind couldnot blow it away?
The chinese are doing their best to get rid of these jerbils i think they should think twice before killing them off they may find without them there are not plants at all for the camels to eat. agri rose macaskie.
Then there is the benefit to the soil of their heces and their bodies to be considered.
We have developed tender and high yeald plants to feed ourselves with, so that they are especialy attractive to animals too, so we can expect to be invaded with competitors for food. My grandmother had a chicken wire fence in the hedge that went around the vegetable garden that went underground as well as above ground to keep out rabbits but i don't know about gophers as there are not gophers in england. Can you make gopher pie? The report of her shooting a rabbit who had managed to get into the garden from her bedroom window, in her nighty, in her seventies worried my mother who felt the kick back would cause her bruising. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie wrote:
it was stopping the increase of deserts which first made me interested in these themes. it still does, i would import chinese grebils so they coudld bury vegetabble matter, into my desert, if i had one, the plants the gerbils and camels were eating looked like ephdra mayor host a sort of dry country broom. agri rose macaskie. i should delete this repetition i am just writtign to evade writtign aabout the more complicated themes i have nearly prepared. agri rose maaskie.
Expressing ourselves, often helps us to reach farther and express what we really want to express. If that makes any sense.
There is a gopher problem here. Especially when they destroy entire gardens and landscapes. They can very quickly seem to decimate all living plants. There are constantly plowed fields around the homes here, which drive the gophers into the properties. Even one gopher can easily destroy 3000 square feet of garden. I have on one occasion caught 8 gophers, and another occasion 14 of them, over the last couple of decades. One remaining "smart" gopher can still destroy everything. Also they have not always been a problem. Most of the time they have not, but sometimes they do destroy everything.
I have wondered what to do about this. Why are they such a problem. What happened before people came along. The gophers were here, the plants were here, the plants were growing and not all destroyed. What was the difference?
Perhaps it was that there were more plants then, of more variety, not grown just in a limited sterile environment. I've been thinking of planting alfafa on a 4x 60 foot area above a retaining wall. There are already numerous gopher holes there. It used to be one of my florishing gardens, but there is nothing of note growing there now. I have two alfalfa plants growing elsewhere, that attracted a gopher. It would come up, eat the alfalfa and disappear down it's hole. The roots go 30 feet deep. Maybe planting the retaining wall area full of alfalfa would help to keep them occupied. Or maybe it would bring 50 more gophers, hungry for everything else. =
Another idea is to grow more things that are not as susceptible to gophers. For example they never seem to bother the fruit trees once established.
I have read all the Laura ingalls Ingalls Wilder books lots of times, they saw gophers on the praire when they were traveling but gophers on the prairie and gophers in the vegetable garden seem two very different things as far as the damage they can do is concerned .
Pa got a cat when there was a pluage of mice, when he woke up because a mouse was eating ihis hair and later, i remember, ma said she had never been so embarrased by the generosity of a cat, the cat bought her gophers it had hunted. So a cat might be a solution, their cat was a good hunter though.
They sell somthing on the televeision that you plug into the wall and it produces vibrations or electrical shocks, i suppose not, in the walls of the house, that are disagreable to the mice and insects and so they don't come into the house. Maybe they can make one for gophers in the garden.
What about ultra low sounds that make you feel cold as if there is a ghost arouund, not that i have had that experience though i have had strannge ones . Maybe ultra low sounds would scare of gophers and everyone else.
In the desert of Thar the hindus who often protect animals though they are a nuiscance , they feed the cranes in the thar desert and the result is that the cranes produce a lot of manure and so when it rains the desert flourishes.
It is a difficult theme, we start of doing for animals because there is a unmanageable plague of them and we end off doing for all animals all the time. They were catching the pidgeons in the square yesterday, soon there wont even be pidgeons in the towns, only rats in the sewers maybe not even those. agri rose macaskie
I wanted to give an explanation to the trees rain factor, so I have broken down the possible advantages they could bring as far as increasing the local humidity is concerned.
They probably increase air humidity so that when some humid air comes in there is a greater likely hood that the saturation of humidity in the air is such as for it to condense and fall as rain. Mind you a great deal of humidity in the air makes a difference to plants even when it does not rain it reduces their water loss and that of the land both because the air dries the land less and because the plants take up less water from the soil. Humidity on leaves can also form into drops of water and drop off the leaves onto the ground as happens in some canary island where there are always mists because of the winds that come in from the sea and a great deal of the moisture comes in this form.
I speculate that trees absorb humidity from the air through their leaves so if the air is more humid the leaves of trees can get more water than they would be able to from dryer air and if trees take water from the air their leaves absorbing it then leaves will stop the humidity of the locality being lost in the air and hold on to it.
I can’t find much mention of leaves absorbing water. James Churchill book “Survival.” says that if you tie a bag round a sprig of leaves on a tree the water that evaporates from the leaves will be caught in the bag and you can collect it at night and drink it, but he says, don’t leave the bag on all night, the leaves will reabsorb the water!
Foliar feeding would seem to be evidence that leaves absorb water. They use foliar feeding to fertilize crops. Foliar feeding serves when it is not advisable to fertilize the ground, like when the ground is dry and fertilizer applied round roots might burn them, or when you have just planted a plant and the roots aren’t established yet. The leaves take up the nutrients sprayed on when the leaf is wet, when the spray is applied and on dewy nights afterwards, so i suppose they absorb the dew as well as the fertilizer.
Plants like trandescantia or brazil sticks live for ages when you don’t water them, I think they would be good plants to use to find out how much humidity plants can absorb from the air though we need to find out how much humidity the leaves all plants can absorb not just of the ones that are specially good at it.
On trees remediating deserts, they are not the only important factor, a book i like a lot that i think contains a lot of the ideas of that American great ecologist Hugh Hammond Bennett, who wrote the prologue, who says that far too few people think of preserving soils, only those directly involved with soils and even too few farmers think of it. The book said that grass renews soils faster than trees do and as deserts suffer from poor soils as well as too little rain you have to think of how to better their soils as well as of planting trees.
The book was a compilation of articles of anonymous agricultural experts, the one who claimed that grass bettered soil faster than trees and had planted a piece of his land that had been a road with grass and clover to prove the efficiency of small plants to better earth and had also put in currant bushes to feed the fauna.
Another reason plants trees and bushes and herbaceous plants keep things humid is that they and their fallen leaves isolate the ground from the sun.
Trees and bushes shade the ground and grass and dead leaves of trees and bushes isolates the ground grass is the first level isolator of the the soil and it isolates the soil whether grass is green or dry. Grass dries in the dry season of hot countries, to regrow in the wet season. It self mulches in the dry season and as earth. Soil is a good accumulator of heat, it is important to isolate it from the sun if the ground heats less it will heat the air less and less water will evaporate from it the ground and the cooler air and with more humidity, the humidity in the air is more likely to reach saturation point, hot air holds much more moisture than cooler air will, so it is good to have the soil covered with grass be it only dry grass and shaded by bushes and trees.
Tarmac is the best accumulator of heat though.
Plants or fallen or dead leaves on the ground also tap the ground put a lid on it, cover it, making the escape of humidity from the soil harder.
I should think many layers of foliage in the air also hold in the air under them, air that might be more humid than the air surrounding the wood or undergrowth, unless there is a good breeze.
Any hot currants of rising hot where there are trees or bushes, are likely to hit leaves and cool. I think that leaves must work as the radiator of cars work. Leaves are cool though hot country trees less so having a thicker epidermis, which is to say skin. As leaves are cool even though some are less so than others, leaves and must cool the air.
Also plants are humidifiers though many, dry country plants, shut their stomata at mid day when the water stress get too big. I suppose water stress is when the roots can’t find enough water to replace the water lost in evaporotranspiration. So where there are trees there will be more humidity in the air and a greater likelihood of the water in the air reaching saturation point and raining.
When there are bodies of water swamps and lakes there will also be more water in the air and so more likelihood of the water in the air reaching saturation point and it raining. That is why if you take the water from a wet area to a dry one you may dry the wet area, and end up with have two areas of little rainfall, so the equation, “you have a lot of water give it to me,” is not as simple as it seems. Agri rose macaskie.
Deserts certainely lack nutrients, organic matter breaks down to fast in the heat for there to be a steady supply of nitrogen, and so does manure.
If shepherds overgraze land then they kill the plant before it can recover from the grazing by regrazing it to often and in the end they do for the plants, so there no vegetable matter left to release nitrogen that plants can use, mand not enough vegetation to keep animals interest up for long enough for htem to drop much manure. I have seen bare hills next to green ones, that one hill had been overgrazed is the only explaination for the deserted condition of these hills.
I have also seen ground where nothing grew, grow stuff on being fertilised.
My husband fertilised a strip of the entrance to my place, where we leave the car, where nothing had ever grown, to plant a hedge there and what a lot of wild plants grew up where there had never been any before, mallows, sorrel, grass, clovers, something, they call wolfs tail here, it was incredible, the seeds were evidently there, they just did not develop till he put manure on the sandy strip.
If shepherds do for all the vegetation as they do in the mediteranean to reduce the fire risk, not only do they do for all possibilities of the ground having usable nitrogen in it, they also leave the soil bare so all the all the top soil gets lost, carried of by the wind or rain.
The bits of soil that first get lost from erosion are the light ones, organic matter because organic matter is light, and the clay particles that are light because they are tiny.
Clay particles have better cation exchange capacity than bigger particles, that means they have a electro magnetic charge beause they are so small and so can hold on to nutrients like atoms of potassium say and make it harder for these nutrients to get carried away, also as they are small there is mthey present a greater surface for nutrients to hold onto. So clay soil can be more fertile fuller of nutrients than other soils and to lose all the clay particles to the wind reduces the fertility of the soil.
The sandy deserts, which for me are the true extreme deserts, are sandy because the smaller particles have been carried away by the wind.
Deserts don't only have a problem of lack of water they have a problem of lack of nutrients. agri rose macaskie.
larry King was saying, that someone he spoke to said, about somthing, that what happens in the future long after we are dead does not matter. I then heard the same attitude from another person, it seems that idea has creept into society when my back is turned. It has taken me a long time to find out that new ideas get generated and that my teachers aren't around to point out the down side of them so its up to me. Did not the farming world used to be super i am passing on this farm to my children conscience and that stopped them from messings things up and now, somehow, people have stopped caring about what they leave to their children and destroy the land as fast as they can. People have such a romantic idea about farmign that farmers have been able to pollute and waste without anyone noticing.
i have loked up the video on petrol mulch, and put in the name of it in the bit above that is an answer to Deeston Lees mention of petrol as a mulch. The video is embarrasingly called (The desert jihad - Iran) meaning fight against the desert, not against us.
plough and how hot the earth is.
Plough was one of the things i meant to fight all the time when i started writing on this frorum. Have you read about islands of heat? How cities get hotter than the surrounding land because bricks, stone and tarmac, exposed to direct sunlight accumulate heat and heat up the citties. You can read about islands of heat in gooogle.
Reading about masonary stoves and how the masonary is heated by a rapid hot fire and it is then the slowly cooling masonary that heats the house, gives you an intuition about how islands of heat work. If buildings heat in the sun which somthing insulating like a jersey say does not and certainly the heat would not be passed into a heap of jerseys, will not plough also heat up in sunlight? If that is right, then in all the world the quantity of land that is left bare because of farming methods, either overgrazing or feilds left fallow or left bare for spring planting, is enormouse and anyone can see how much of the heat that we can't lose is the fault of farming.
Plough and reduction of carbon fixing by plants .
Also plants take a carbon out of the air and carbondioxcide is one of the greenhouse gasses that reflects heat back towards the earth stopping it escaping the earths atmosphere, as clouds also do. Land left bare is land that is not growing plants that take carbon out of the atmosphere. It is a disaster, people must grow cover crops. In spain in those parts where they still farm traditionally, they take sheep to crop the stubble after a day on the mountains and the seed in their feces seed the stubble with pastable plants, so traditionally the fallow was not bare fields here and the planting method was cheap, sheep being the planting method.
Plough and the reduction of carbon fixing by fungi, glomalin.
Also the substance glomalin, there are articles on it in google, only discovered in 2006, that comes from fungi on the roots of all crops except those of the cabbage and mustard families, takes up and stores great quantities of carbon, glomalin stores 27 percent of soil carbon and is not doing so on fallow land, so another reason fallow is bad .
Glomalin also sticks soil particles together making the soil a much better texture so you want to have cover crops or green fertilisers on your land when the cearal season is over. producing this substance all the time if you want good soil. agri rose maCASKIE
They have done some very interesting experiments in the desert of Thar in India, a desert with very little rain. that makes one question our habit of flattening out land flat to accomodate our machines. It seems that puddling fills the water table so flat land is a bad thing.
Not digging or over using wells also helps the water table.
In parts of the Thar desert they have reinstated old ways of adquiring water that pre-date the wells the english built because they were persuaded they were the best way for the area to have water. THe old methods were succh things as building up walls that cut the flow of rain water that goes down a slope in feilds so that the water accumulates, puddles, behind the wall and is held on the land, does not flow down to the river and run down to the sea.
The puddled areas also serve for growing quick crop in the damp ground when the puddles dry off.
They used to build dams across rivers to create ponds. Also they used to take some of the water from rivers in the wet season to fill village ponds. The purpose of reinstating ponds was to increase the water available to villagers, the use of wells had started to dry up the water table, so the wells were drying up.The unexpected result has been that the water table filled up and rivers that had dried up flowed again.
They also pave areas with a slitght slope towqrds athe center of the paved area tthawere there is a underground tank to hold the water collected measures like these reduce the use of well water.
The more places that hold puddled water or ponds that exist, the more water sinks into the ground instead of running down to the river. Maybe one of the reasons for the worsening of conditions where you live in Texas is the flattening of the land there if it has been flattened modern agriculture seems to mean lots of dips in the land get wiped out? THis is somethign billo mollison laments. in his videos.
You can find out about indian water harvesting techniques if with the words (water harvesting Thar desert) in google.
ihad thought that texas was greener than spain and thought it is the overgrazing in spain I wonder what attitudes to grazing grass right down is in texas i had seen some bit of film in texas or documentrtary win which the undergrowth seemed much denser than it does here. I am sorry things have been changing.
and this one, which is very long
Pam, those are interesting links (except the first as google is blocked).
This one tells of how deserts are being rehabilitated in Iran.
The work that has already taken place in Iran is enormous and monumental, and is probably the largest application of good desert repair work in the world. I think it is safe to say it is the largest-scaled effort in the history of the world, with two million hectares of desert project area under rehabilitation. This has been a very, very major effort and still goes on today to repair the long-term effects of desert extension and salinisation in this ancient landscape, a landscape that has enormous diversity and ancient systems with a very, deep-rooted history of human settlement.
Thanks for the link to what is going on in Iran. Off topic but.. It's was very interesting and refreshing to have a view of what is going on in this area at least, which is not polarizing political propaganda. I am going to send the link to a couple of people I know who are convinced Iran simply spends ALL its time trying to figure out how to be antagonistic to the rest of the world. We need more of this sort of information.
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