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Community Action for Sustainability News

  • 1% of farms operate 70% of world's farmland. [1] Nov 24 ...Food news
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  • How the president-elect plans to tackle climate change [5] Nov 10 ...Climate action USA
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Terraces and ditches at Petregal a Permaculture Demonstration Center in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Terraces and ditches prevent erosion on steep slopes and create areas for farming. Terraces and ditches are dug according to the contour of the site and the terraces leave an edge over each trench. Water rather then flowing straight down hill follows the edges of these terraces thus this practice slows down the water and prevents massive soil erosion. If vetiver (a tall perennial grass) is planted in the mounds it helps further prevent erosion as its roots are established deep in the soil to secure it in place. The distance between these trenches depends on the slope. Petegral has demonstration of teracing both with vegitation as well as terracing using rock wall borders. This is one project in a series of soil conservation, groundwater recharge, and farming demonstration projects at the Permaculture Demonstration Center in San Andres Huayapam, Mexico, called Pedregal.

Deforestation is one of the greatest contributers to soil errosion. Without tree roots firmly forming a matrix to stabalize the soil land erodes from slopes and hills. What soil remains is left to the mercy of the wind and rain, and this eroding soil drags everything it encounters down with it. In Oaxaca as well as other places in Mexico campesinos (or small farmers) have been pushed off their land and often find that the only avialable land left for their small farm is on forested slopes. For this reason Petegral wanted to create a center that demonstrated different applications of farming on steeply sloped hills previously deforested. Some of their techniques demonstrated include: terraces, ditches, buffers of perrenial grasses, and mixed or polyculture planting.

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Bill Mollison

Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simpltexte.

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