farm plans

How Permaculture Can Help Your Land Cope With Climate Change

One way of improving the fertility of your land is through permaculture. Permaculture is an agricultural system centered on utilizing the land based on its natural characteristics.

Reasons for doing permaculture vary. Some landowners use permaculture for them to help revitalize or find use for barren land. Some adopt permaculture for ethical reasons. But regardless of the reasons, people are mainly attracted to permaculture because of its core values.

  • Cares for the environment – Permaculture recognizes that the environment provides for everything we need. So in order to get the most from the environment, it has to be nurtured and protected by using earth-friendly farming practices.

  • Caring for the people– Every property has its own unique resources to boost. And the goal of permaculture is to maximize and highlight natural resources. The concept behind this is what’s naturally available in the environment is more sustainable to raise and maintain than bringing in crops that are not naturally suited for the environment. This practice encourages sustainability and self-reliance.

  • Utilizing surpluses – Permaculture is, in a way, a form of recycling. It uses and re-utilizes whatever is available in the property. This makes permaculture healthier for the environment and an efficient farming system.

On the outset, permaculture has its similarities with other forms of land development. But what makes permaculture different is it goes beyond land development. It’s about working with your property and giving back in order to get the most returns.

It’s in the adoption of permaculture and its core values that can help your land fight climate change.

Why Go for Permaculture

In addition to being environment friendly, there are many benefits to adopting permaculture.

1.        It’s cost efficient. Permaculture encourages waste reduction. It also encourages the organic fertilizers and pest control, which is cheaper than commercially available products. This helps farmers cut costs.

2.       It adopts and works with the land. – In permaculture, the type of crops planted are chosen based on what’s naturally available, working with the property’s soil characteristics, topography, and climate. This increases the chances of crop survival and makes maintenance easier for farmers.

3.       It encourages renewable systems and produces no waste– Adopting renewable systems, like renewable energy and fuel for farms, makes them self-sufficient.

4.      It is self-supporting and efficient– Since nothing in permaculture is wasted, everything within it also serves a purpose. Crops are planted not just for profit, but to also help the soil and the local system. The insects that enter the farm help with pollination. Any other plants within the farm helps support the crops and provides additional revenue.

5.       It provides attainable solutions – Because of its values of utilizing what is readily available and working with the environment, permaculture helps provide farms with feasible plans to increase productivity.

Permaculture and Climate Change

Climate change will undoubtedly affect the global food supply. Permaculture is currently being viewed as a practical way of combating both these problems.

One permaculture practice that can help fight climate change while ensuring food supply is agroforestry, which integrates agricultural and forestry techniques. The use of native trees and plants helps fight carbon emissions. It also encourages the use and protection of a wide variety of native plants that have current and potential commercial value.

Another scheme in mitigating climate change through permaculture is through sheet mulching. Mulching is perfect for the reduction of carbon emission. Reducing evaporation, increasing the presence of organic matter, absorbing rainfall. This helps with farm irrigation without having to alter major water systems, makes use of waste, and helps preserve soil fertility.

Rainwater harvesting is another permaculture practice that can have a positive environmental impact. Flooding and drought is a big problem for farms. By harvesting rainwater, the water volume that can contribute to flooding is reduced. It also provides farms with an alternative water source for irrigation.

How to Effectively Use Permaculture

Adopting permaculture requires planning. And to figure out the best permaculture plan for your property, you’ll need the help of an expert.

This is where we Rural Design can help. Each farm is unique and not everybody can adopt permaculture in the same way. We create permaculture plans with real life scenarios, which gives you clear results.

Our experience and expertise in doing farm forestry and permaculture has exposed us to a wide variety of scenarios. Adopting permaculture would require government consents, especially if the property requires major development. Our tie-ups with local and regional units allows you to implement your permaculture plan with ease. We also do assessments to determine the best way to proceed in order to provide you with support and guidance. We will help you with maintenance and implementation with our experienced work force.

Permaculture, simply put, is a holistic approach to agriculture. It takes into consideration all the environmental elements at play in order to make farming more efficient. And because of this, if you want to adopt permaculture in your farm, it has to be done right.

Using Manuka for Forest Revegetation

Manuka, or simply called “tea tree”, is a scrub-type flowering plant that grows into a moderately sized tree, with dense branches and a short spine tip. It is sometimes confused with kanuka, but manuka leaves are quite prickly  and its wood is tough and hard.

You can get the genus of manuka in various native plant nurseries or with other outlets that sell native plants or other organic commodities. 

Manukas are usually used for revegetation projects for a variety of reasons: 

● It has wide ecological tolerance
● It grows faster
● It has the ability to colonise sites, particularly those with low fertility and low temperature
● Increases production of seed, especially light wind-borne seed.
● Seeds germinate over a wide temperature range

When doing revegetation on your property, there are four ways you can utilize manuka as a crop:

- Direct Seeding
- Establishing nurse crops
- Laying Manuka Brush
- Planting of quick growing species and its mixture

Direct Seeding

This is an inexpensive way in using manuka for your revegetation project. 
Direct seeding requires

- Large quantities of viable seed
- Doing the work in the right season
- Maintaining its optimum conditions
- Controlling of invading and unwanted species 

Direct seeding also broadcasts and places manuka seeds directly in a site where plants germinate and grow. 

It is a good approach as it tends to eliminate competing plants, grasses included. It also helps in the maintenance of microclimate necessary for native seed germination and growth. 

Establish a nurse crop

If there’s no existing vegetation on your property, establishing a nurse crop can help provide shelter on exposed sites for other native plants to grow, with manuka commonly used as nurse crop. 

Nurse crops are meant to be temporary solutions. Once other native species start to grow, the nurse crop can be thinned out by natural (wind and bird dispersion) or by artificial means like pruning.

Laying a manuka bush

This procedure is involves mass planting high densities of manuka to create bush areas quickly with minimal effort. It is usually done by laying branches of manuka (laden with ripe seed) while bearing seed capsules on a cultivated ground. The manuka brush laid over the ground should be in criss-cross fashion, and not laid too densely as this will shade out the manuka. 

Laying a manuka bush will improve the chances of your seedlings and encourage other plant and animal species to repopulate the area. 

Planting a mix of manuka and other quick growing species

Mixing your manuka with other quick growing species is one way to quickly revegetate a piece of property with more species diversity. In this case, quick growing species like Coprosma/Pittosporum are planted with manuka so either plants can provide shelter to each other or to other species. 

Planting Manuka is a great plant to get you started on your property’s forest revegetation. For best results, go to a reliable native plant nursery to get the best crops.

But to increase your chances of having a successful revegetation project, it’s best to consult with professionals.

At Rural Design, we will provide you with competitive pricing on exotic and native plants to work seamlessly with desired landscape. We also eco-source native plant species for propagation within our native plant nursery and we come with a complete package of services to help you with your replanting projects from start to finish. 

So when you come to use for manuka plants, don’t look any further. We offer the best services so your manuka plants and forest revegetation will be in full bloom.

What You Need To Know About Carbon Emissions Trading Schemes

It was through the Climate Change Response Act of 2002 that the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) was born. It is a scheme that provides incentives for any ecological restoration activity that results in reducing carbon emissions; emissions created mostly by big industries and corporations. Although ETS is designed to primarily carbon emissions, the scheme has been expanded to cover all courtesy of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. 

The issue of climate change has become a major global issue, and the reduction of carbon emissions has become the battle cry all over the country. Climate change is a serious threat that has debilitating long term effects if not address promptly and correctly by everyone affected by it. 

As a landowner, you can no longer ignore the impact of climate change to your property. Shifting climate patterns and higher temperatures can affect the growth of such plants and the health of stock. Stronger greenhouse gases warm bodies of water and melt glaciers, affecting weather patterns which in turn affects your property and everything in it.

Fighting Back Climate Change With ETS

There is a way for you, as a landowner, to fight back against climate change. By applying for ETS and implementing the necessary restoration, you can make your property more resilient to the impact of climate change, protect your land for future use and development, and continue to earn from your property while protecting the environment.

Before any ETS takes place, a series of assessments is done in order to measure the carbon emissions of each industry, and to determine the measures that need to take place in order to reduce these emissions. The assessments include environmental assessment in the property, resources assessment and environmental monitoring.

The agricultural sector, which includes farmers and property owners, are required to assess their carbon emissions produced by their property and submit it as part of their obligation to ETS. This will determine the allocation or assistance provided for each farm under the ETS rule. The allocation will vary depending on the output of such farm. 

The emissions are then converted to New Zealand Units (NZU) credit. The credit can then be cancelled out by implementing measures that reduce carbon emissions or by purchasing NZUs from properties that actively reduce carbon emissions from the atmosphere. 

This is where landowners with forested areas can earn from ETS. If your property has a negative carbon footprint, you can sell its equivalent NZUs to industries who need it. 

Another way to earn NZUs is through carbon farming. Carbon farming is the process of getting rid with carbon dioxide and storing it in a form of new forests. This covers forests or restored areas that were established after 1989. With this scheme, landowners and farmers too can either sell their units or offset their carbon emissions.

To become a voluntary participant, landowners can register their property by registering their property with the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative or the East Coast Forestry Project to start earning and selling NZUs. Each application comes with a series of requirements that involve mapping the property, doing assessments and computing emissions. The application procedures are pretty straightforward but to get the most out of ETS, it’s best to consult a professional.

Not only would a professional help you with the ETS application process. We at Rural Design can go beyond that. We offer environmental assessment services to help target areas that produce the most carbon emissions and ecological restoration services to help offset that. We have rural landscape design, permaculture and replanting services to help expand your forested areas while allowing for maximum productivity. 

And with your ETS application, we can facilitate with the preliminary assessment, mapping and filing. We can assist you with the carbon unit sequestration, unit sale and offset. Every possible angle for your ETS is covered, from environmental risk assessment to its impact. We have it for you. Our list of completed projects with ETS will attest to that. 

Carbon emission reduction is for everyone and participating in the ETS can provide long term returns for you and your property. By making the most of the carbon emissions trading scheme, you can help the environment and continue to make your property productive for years to come.