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terraced land and keyline can it work?  RSS feed

Posts: 801
Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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Hi Darren, I want to say first of all that your work is inspiring and the focus you are putting on being very serious about design and systems that can be used is very important for all of the movement.
My question is what sort of intervention would you consider on a terraced land, terraces that are large from 3 to 15 metres, in Tuscany, Italy? mostly olive trees on the high side of the dry stone wall.
quite a good annual rainfall but hot summers, and rainy winters and springs.
I'd love to have the opportuniy to follow a course or workshop, ever going to happen in Italy in 2016?
I must say I've read things on keyline but still haven't grasped the essence of it, very curious hope to learn one day

Posts: 33
Location: Bendigo Region, Victoria, Australia
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Thanks for your kind words Lorenzo,

Yes I do enjoy design and thanks to people like P.A. Yeomans, I am very keen to apply an engineers' outlook to the due diligence and process of design — I think this has been reflected in my body of work and will only continue to. I am serious too as I take a deep responsibility for the effect of my work on Gaia and on the return on investment my clients need to obtain — hence my gravitation to Holistic Management over the last decade as it is serious about financial management, much more it would seem than many in Permaculture are.

Terraces are fun landscapes that's for sure and in so far as their matching up to Keyline that's an interesting question that I've worked on for many years not just in the mediterranean but also across SE Asia.

The main interventions I've looked at with respect to mediterranean climates is to manage soil surface coverage much better as this is clearly a massive issue. As many of the soils are calcareous, internal drainage is often not a problem, however maintain organic carbon levels can be and this is a primary outcome of having too many annuals and not enough (productive) perennials in the groundstory. Therefore, unless there is a compaction problem I wouldn't look at using a subsoiler on terraces. You also need to be careful of using powered machinery on rock-walled terraces as well as they were not designed for the vibration or weight OR the lack of humans available to fix them!

So do what you can to get your soils covered 100% of the time with plants, and the residues of plants. Woody mulches under the olives and composts etc.

We'll hopefully get to Italy in 2016 as part of the tour that we're planning. In the meantime check in with the likes of Matteo Mazzola, Eugenio Gras, Jairo Restrepo and Elena Parmigianni as they are all involved in some, way, shape or form in Keyline and natural farming.



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