Because climatic uncertainty has now become "the new normal," many farmers, gardeners and orchard-keepers in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt their food production to become more resilient in the face of such "global weirding." This book draws upon the wisdom and technical knowledge from desert farming traditions all around the world to offer time-tried strategies for:
Building greater moisture-holding capacity and nutrients in soils
Protecting fields from damaging winds, drought, and floods
Harvesting water from uplands to use in rain gardens and terraces filled with perennial crops
Delecting fruits, nuts, succulents, and herbaceous perennials that are best suited to warmer, drier climates
Gary Paul Nabhan is one of the world's experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands. For this book he has visited indigenous and traditional farmers in the Gobi Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, and Andalusia, as well as the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Painted deserts of North America, to learn firsthand their techniques and designs aimed at reducing heat and drought stress on orchards, fields, and dooryard gardens. This practical book also includes colorful "parables from the field" that exemplify how desert farmers think about increasing the carrying capacity and resilience of the lands and waters they steward. It is replete with detailed descriptions and diagrams of how to implement these desert-adapted practices in your own backyard, orchard, or farm.
This is a very well assembled piece of work: it's clear from photos and interviews in several desert countries that professor Nabhan has worked for years on exactly what the title says. And very helpful to me, it's written in plain English that I don't need a degree to understand. It is full of lists of appropriate species and subspecies of productive and beneficial plants.
Bill Mollison actually cites Gary (sic.) Nabham in PDC on the subject of desert agriculture.
I live in a subtropical, approaching desert-like situation, and this book is custom-cut for someone in my position.
His writing is occasionally more flowery and poetic than I have a taste for, and he makes up a lot of words (several for which there is no English equivalent, so who could blame him), but pound for pound this has been a great resource.