native plant nursery

Can Permaculture Save The Agricultural Industry From Climate Change?

Permaculture, according to Wikipedia, is described as a system of agricultural and social design principles centered on the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. Permaculture uses the land's resources as a starting point of its development.

But recent developments show otherwise. Permaculture has been set aside for more immediate means of development. Some landowners are not that keen in doing permaculture. They argue that it takes a lot of time and return of investment is slow.

But as the effects of climate change intensifies, permaculture is not being seen as a more sustainable means of agriculture. It has a low carbon footprint, which reduces its impact on the environment and it helps the property maintain its viability even through the effects of climate change.

Can Permaculture Make a Difference?

The agricultural industry is one of the most affected by climate change, which is why it’s important for the industry to do as much as it can to combat and adopt to climate change. But throughout history, the agricultural industry has done its share in contributing to carbon emissions and greenhouse gases.

The adoption of organic farming methods and green technology helps but it’s not enough. For the agricultural sector to continue to feed the world’s growing population, it has to find ways to thrive against the change.

This is what makes permaculture an ideal option for the agricultural sector. It’s a philosophy that works with the environment and the changes that come in. It is focused on reducing waste and making the most of what’s available within the property while minimizing impact. It doesn’t add to the damage that’s already done to the planet. Rather, it helps the environment recover while utilizing what’s already available to increase productivity.

Productivity and Feasibility of Permaculture

Critics argue that permaculture is not as productive as traditional farming methods nor is it feasible for all types of land. But with proper planning, permaculture can be implemented in almost all types of farms. Permaculture farms can also be just as efficient with proper planning and maintenance.

Permaculture is productive in so many ways because:

  • It minimizes waste – Making full use of its resources is one of the reasons why permaculture is viable. Nothing is laid waste.
  •  It introduces diversity – Taking advantage of the uniqueness of the local environment helps improve productivity. It provides more opportunities for farmers to earn from their farms with crops that are resilient and best suited to the local area.
  •  It reinvigorates the property– Permaculture is renewable farming. It encourages giving back to the land and environment through the use of organic farming methods. This keeps the land fertile and allows it to continue to produce viable crops despite climate change.
  •  It offers manageable solutions – Permaculture is viable because it makes use of local resources.  These resources are manageable and more sustainable in the long run.
  •  It is so close to nature – Designing your landscaping while being sensitive to the needs of your land.  It is a way of securing the sustainability of your property.

Permaculture is a unique land development system.  It attempts to fight the damaging effects of nature through nature itself. It doesn’t add up to the increasing amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. It actually prevents the spreading of it.

But doing permaculture effectively requires careful planning. And seeking the help of a professional landscaping expert makes sense. Although you might be in a better position to do permaculture yourself because you know your land. Hiring a landscaping expert can help provide options on how to fully maximize the potential of your land.

We at Rural Design have been doing permaculture for years. Our combined expertise plus our holistic approach in landscaping and planning has made us experts in this field. We don’t just turn idle land into productive farms. We maximize them to their full potential by ensuring that these farms are sustainable and that they continue to be viable for years to come.

We also understand the needs and limitations of our clients. That’s why we make sure that the implementation and maintenance of our permaculture properties are feasible. It’s important for us that farms don’t just get started, but they continue to grow. And to make things even easier, we have an extensive nursery of eco-sourced plants that provides you with all the appropriate plants for permaculture. We also have an experienced workforce that can help with implementation, ensuring that your permaculture plan will thrive and pay dividends in the future.

So be a part of the future of agriculture. Start your permaculture project now. Our future depends on it.

Top 5 Native Plants of New Zealand

Native plants in New Zealand evolved almost in isolation for a million of years. In fact, 80% of these plants are endemic. 15% of the total land area is covered with these native plants, from ferns to alpines to scrub and tussocks, which can only be found in New Zealand.
   
The country is host to many of the exotic plants used for revegetation projects. Among the top native plants in New Zealand include the kōwhai , cabbage tree, kauri, manuka and the harakeke/flax. These are the top five exotic plants used for landscaping and revegetation services.
  
Kōwhai

Kōwhai is one of the best-known native plants in New Zealand. At times considered as the unofficial national flower of the country. Its bright yellow flowers and imagery are used in popular art works. The maori, one of its genus, is durable and has many medicinal properties.  It’s also an important source of seasonal nectar, benefitting a host of native birds.

Cabbage tree

The cabbage tree is the most distinct tree in the New Zealand landscape. They grow all over the country, usually on wet, open areas like swamps. Cabbage trees are pleasing to the eye because of their bluish-white, scented flowers that bloom during summer, and provide food for insects and birds. It has a thick bark and a huge fleshy taproot, which makes them hardy and strong.
  
Kauri

Among the world’s mightiest trees, the Kauri can grow up to 50 m tall.  In the old days, the tree was used by the Maori tribe for boat building, building houses, or carving. Kauri’s gum was used as fire starter and for chewing. Over the years, there is an extensive drive to protect it from extinction.
 
Manuka

Manuka is also known as a “tea tree”, along with the Kanuka. These native plants range from being flat creeping forms to small shrubs. It is one of the most popular native plants in New Zealand because of its inherent characteristics, its pink-flushed flowers and its sooty mould. Contrary to other native plants, manuka is not eaten by foraging animals, which makes it suitable for restoration projects.

Harakeke/Flax

Flax is one of New Zealand’s oldest native plant species. It has two distinct species: common flax (harakeke) and mountain flax (wharariki). This plant is sorecognizable because of its tall, green, sword-like leaves growing all throughout the islands. They thrive in wet areas, either on high altitudes or along coastlines. 

Colorful exotic plants such as the Kōwhai, because of its small leaflets and juvenile branches, are perfect for urban areas since these plants add texture to a structural setting such as in a city.  The manuka is also suitable for urban areas for of its distinctive features.  Kaui is more suitable for rural areas since they consume more space. The same is true with cabbage trees which makes these plants ideal for rural landscaping.

There is a host of other native plants for urban and rural landscaping, but identifying these top five native plants for your property is crucial so you can plan and assess your landscaping project with the appropriate plants. Identifying these top native plants also will help you determine which plants to use to develop your land.

Better yet; seek the help of a professional. At Rural Design, we can provide you with the right native plants suitable for your property. We understand that developing your land is not a walk in the park. Careful planning and having the appropriate design for your landscaping project is required to maximize the potential of both your native plants and your property.

Rural Design will be there to assist you, from your planning to riparian planting to site preparation and even helping you find the right native plants from our native plant nursery. We offer:

● Competitive pricing on native plants
● Eco-source plants for your property
● A list of wholesale native plants for your landscaping and revegetation projects

For more of these native plants and your landscaping needs, you check our website, http://www.ruraldesign.co.nz/, or visit us at 300 Kaiwaka-Mangawhai Road, Kaiwaka, Northland

Strategies for Urban Ecological Restoration

The Department of Conservation defines ecological restoration as “the process of re-establishing a self-sustaining habitat or ecosystem similar to what is likely to have existed prior to human contact, and the reintroduction of native fauna and flora and the eradication or control of pests.”
 
Ecological restoration usually involves a variety of projects such as 

● reforestation and revegetation using indigenous, native species of plants, trees and bushes
● removal of weeds and other non-native species
● habitat and range improvements

Ecological restoration is often implemented in rural communities where it’s possible to restore large areas and the benefits of ecological restoration are immediately visible. However, it’s seldom implemented in urban areas due to space and logistical constraints. There’s also the issue of how viable restoration efforts would be in an urban setting with factors like human activity and climate change come into play.

But ecological restoration is exactly what urban areas need. Eco-cities that co-exist with the natural ecosystem tend to be healthier and more sustainable. It is a perfect system for urban areas because it:

1. consumes fewer resources, 
2. produces less waste, 
3. is powered by sustainable resources, 
4. mitigates the impact of climate change and
5. provides a level of sufficiency that protects urban dwellers from catastrophic events.

Urban ecological restoration is challenging but not impossible. The goal with urban ecological restoration is to design a city that caters to sustainable population and ecological growth. It’s not just about turning a city greener. It’s about making a city and all its residents healthier, allowing both native plants and city dwellers to thrive even in an urban environment. 

In Auckland, for example, part of the challenge of making their city among the greenest in the world is the increasing number of inhabitants in the area, enabling Chief Sustainability Officer John Mauro to quip recently, “If the city is going to be a desirable place to live, we need to not only have housing that’s affordable and easy transport connections, we need to have green space.” It is only then that we consider human activity with ecological restoration that development will take place. 

Urban ecological restoration doesn’t have to be done in one massive step. It can be done incrementally in a number of ways: 

Roads - Instead of emphasizing high volume roads with equally high speed arterials, they can be toned down, converting into a two-way road but widening certain footpaths. They can be converted into a streetscape along parks and cafes, encouraging more public transport and pedestrian traffic.

Residential areas - Subdivisions with cabbage trees and other native plants as vegetation. A barren piece of land in the middle of the subdivision can be used as recreation area like a mini park or urban garden with trees planted along the road for some shade. Condominium units can provide spaces for window gardens and rooftop mini-forests. Rooftops and roof decks can be used as small scale solar or wind farms to supplement the city’s energy supply.

Parks - Small wetlands inside parks can be developed and restored into fishing or ornamental ponds. Mini gardens, native plant nurseries, and habitats for wild animals as well as observatories are installed. 

Office buildings - For new buildings, they should conform with LEED standards. For older buildings, mini gardens can be built just outside the lobby and along walkways. For all building, provisions for sustainable energy and wastewater management should be provided by building owners.

Urban farms - A large native plant nursery, greenhouse gardens as well as conservatories of rare exotic plant and animal species can be found in urban farms. 

This would be a daunting task for any city but with the right planning, implementation and resource, urban ecological restoration can be done effectively and efficiently. With public support, government initiative, and the expertise of partners like Rural Design, it’s possible to create a healthy green cities all over the country within our lifetime