The Deserts on this planet are growing and new ones are apearing,there are more than ever before in the history of Earth
First comes deforestation ,
then irresponsible agriculture using fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides ,
Usually overpumping deep lying and surface aquifers
Or cattle are allowed to over graze
and invariable deserts are the result
War can be another cause or even forest fires
Once areas on the equator have been deforested it is next to impossible to establish regrowth under the hot sun and with often frost in the nights
Almost all the Desserts on this planet result from human intervention.
the Building of the Spanish Armada deforrested Spain
the Phoenician trading fleet turned Lebanon in a dessert
Ganges Khan put everything to the sword and torch, then filled the wells with sand,
the sun finished of the job and whole countries turned to wastelands.
He would have been envious of the effects of modern day farming.
Slash and burn destroys the protective vegetation (which helps to form the soil ),
leaving it open to the Sun ,and then ,wind and, water erosion.
The Plough turns the soil ,killing micro-biotic life (essential to soil building) and accelerates the drying out .
Pressures of the :vehicles, cattle and rain impact brings the salt to the surface.
Mono cultures ,aided by chemicals Exhaust and pollutes the soil .
Adding to this the effects of overgrazing has resulted in large scale desertification.
Each year billions of tons of topsoil are blown or washed away by storms.
Arable lands and their farms are lost all over the globe. Many farmers sons abandon farming and head for the cities.
Northern China is drying up, what once were millions of food producing people,
are now hungry refugees ,running for their lives from the all consuming dust storms.
SOIL PRESERVATION AND DESERTIFICATION
the first concept to prevent desertification is always to conserve the trees and to maintain moisture ,which can be enhanced by waterharvesting ,
which simply means to catch and retain any rain fall that happens in that place by building as many dams as is possible, and so efectively turn the place into a sponge .
the water will not always be visible ,but all the same is absorbed by the ground ,and is now moving at a much slower speed ,sometimes taking months to leave the area before it ends up in subteranean water deposits or helps feed the streems and rivers , meantime your trees have been using it.
a tree builds its own soil ,in its life time,by the leaves it discards ,--we improve on that by mulching
cut down the weeds before they produce seeds and leave them where they fall,they will cover the ground and put even more organic matter on top,you can use saw dust,leaves green or dry,and when you plant make a little space and plant in the mulch.
this is the easiest quickest and by far most benificial way(for the quality of your soil)to prepare the land for planting
what you do is to cover the ground with mulch which is the same principal as compost but it includes the whole garden surface
the top part of the soil where the topsoil is being produced houses a world or microbiotic life.
Mulch is organic material green or dry that covers the ground,the thicker the better the composting process will turn it in to black topsoil
an exelent mulch is forgotten or old bales of whatever ,straw or hay or alphalfa
the humidity is preserved underneath and promotes the devellopment of worms(their exists no better compost than their excrements)and a variety of micro biotic life which together with the mulch produce more topsoil.
the mulch also keeps the ground temperature even and guards against the impact of the rain ,which would other wise brings salt to the surfave if on unprotected land
Mulch also prevents the soil from drying out because of the sun and, lay it open to wind erosian.
do not use chemicals because the water will wash them into the ground and if enough people did that, you would be guilty of helping to contaminate subteranean water suplies that other people could be pumping up to drink
the designers Manual by Bill Mollisin has a large section on dryland strategies,which are many ideas that have been applied in the sahara and in Nevada. cost about 40 dollars.
and is the best all round book you can get.(tagiari publishing, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Permaculture means permanent agriculture
a concept put forward by Bill Mollisson in the 60`s
some other writers that are on the internet are
Masanobu Fukuaka has written ,
The Road Back to Nature
The Natural Way of Farming
and Bill Molisson.
a representitive of the concept in USA is
Dan Hemenway at YankeePerm@aol.com
there is a University of Permaculture in Australia
I am a permaculture consultant for the department of Ecology for the regional government of Guerrero in Mexico