riparian planting

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.

What Factors Affect Riparian Restoration Success

Riparian restoration is a process of restoring stream banks through weed control, animal pest control and revegetation.  It also involves the fencing out of livestock while planting trees along its stream to create buffer zones.

Streams are integral to the land, so important that New Zealand have undertaken riparian restoration projects in an attempt to reverse land use impact to its waterways.
It takes a considerable amount of time to be able to see the benefits of doing riparian restoration. Riparian restoration is a delicate process and it’s essential to check several key restoration procedures, such as:

● channel instability
● aquatic habitat development
● alleviation of water pollutants
● improvement of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity

Riparian restoration is a project that most people choose to undertake themselves. But to ensure success, it’s important to be knowledgeable in all aspects of riparian planting; not just in the planning and implementation, but also with monitoring and maintenance.

Common Riparian Restoration Mistakes

Often times, the failure of restoration projects or difficulty in maintaining these projects stem from these common mistakes:

a. Unplanned land activity
Land activity is also crucial in the planning and development of riparian restoration. What happens upstream can affect the results of your riparian restoration downstream. And your restoration efforts can affect the land activity or use of your neighbors downstream. Coordinating with your neighbors on land use is needed to control external factors that could affect the success of your planting and restoration efforts.

b. Improper fencing and buffer system
An effective riparian restoration also involves good fencing to minimize livestock access and the prevent possible contaminants from entering the area. In 2000 alone, New Zealand had assessed nine riparian management schemes to see to it that proper fencing is used for its restoration. The buffer zones of these nine restoration projects had been fenced and has planted the necessary crops for a specific period, from a minimum of 2 years to a maximum of 24.  

c. Weeds not controlled
Weed control is an important aspect in riparian restoration since it reduces competition among plants, reduces cover for pest (particularly meadow voles), and it makes for easy inspection. It also provides pathways for native species to colonize the stream. 
d. Using the wrong plant species
Native plants endemic to streams contribute to biodiversity and creates a sustainable ecosystem for the species that dependent on the area.  In most cases, when the wrong plants are used, they would not thrive. In some cases, they might encourage the growth of invasive plant and animal species which could be detrimental to the riparian system.

Riparian Restoration Monitoring

Landowners should also look into the sustainability when investing in riparian restoration. Professional monitoring and maintenance can help insure this. You should keep in mind certain aspects of the restoration that might prove costly if unplanned or unchecked.

● Check to see if there are enough plants to filter the water - The main reason for riparian restoration is to reinvigorate your streams. The native plants should be able to filter and hold enough water to restore soil viability and create a sustainable ecosystem. Regular weed control is also important to encourage plant growth and prevent the weeds from choking down native trees and bushes. 

● Should provide shade as well - This is a unique benefit for riparian restoration. It provides shade to your streams to shelter insects, fishes and other endemic animals, helping them thrive and minimizing the impact brought about by climate change

● Should provide habitat for land animals - Growing the right plants for your riparian restoration will provide provide shelter to endemic animals while providing them easy access to safe water.

● Check to see if the plants are thriving - Proper fencing and agreements with neighbors and shareholder to protect your plants from stock can help ensure that your You can do your own riparian planting and restoration, but the safest way to do so is with the help of a professional. With the help of a riparian restoration expert, you will be assured of the inherent recreational, environmental and developmental benefits of doing riparian restoration.  They will assist you on how to plan and implement your riparian planting for you to have better waterways as well as a sustainable wetland in the process

Can You Do Revegetation Without Any Planning?

Revegetation refers to the process of replanting and rebuilding a damaged land’s soil, for restoring its former ecosystem. According to the Native Plant Centre in New Zealand, a company specializing in growing New Zealand native plants, revegetation is “to recreate a natural bush environment, where no bush existed before.”

Landowners use revegetation projects for many reasons:

● Resource conservation - refers to the management of natural resources to provide maximum benefit while maintaining the capacity of one’s land for future use.
● Erosion and weed control - the practice of preventing water erosion in agriculture, coastal areas and riverbanks, and the control of weed proliferation within the developed wetlands.
● Preservation of bush remnants - refers to the ecological restoration of remnant vegetation areas with the intention of minimizing weeds and erosion concerns.
● Preventing fertilizer run offs - the process of eliminating fertilizer saturation for the preservation of water while increasing the land’s nutrients.
● Encouraging native birds to settle in the area – an indicator of increasing biodiversity, the birds also help in fertilization and pest control.

Not All Revegetation Projects Have the Same Results

While there are many benefits from this undertaking, not all revegetation projects can turn out as ideal, or at least, executed as planned. Other revegetation projects have not lived up to its intended purpose, and that is, the rehabilitation of one’s land through the planting of native plant species. This was seen in a study conducted by Abigail R. Forbes, and John L. Craig, “Assessing the role of revegetation in achieving restoration goals on Tiritiri Matangi Island” (see attached link). 

The Tiritiri Matangi Island is a part of New Zealand’s extensive project of community-based restoration, focusing on habitat restoration, pest management and threatened species conservation as well as native revegetation.  The study’s goal was to determine whether the project at Tiritiri met  “the restoration goals by providing habitat for indigenous diversity, particularly birds.”  
They argued that although revegetation projects have captured the interest of the international conservation movement, these “initiatives (revegetation) are often conducted in an ad-hoc manner, without clear objectives or monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the chosen approach.”  That despite the efforts made, the project did not meet its desired goals due to lack of planning.

Revegetation Requires Planning and Follow-Through

To undertake a revegetation project without planning is unthinkable. Planting randomly and undermining the inherent structure of the land before a revegetation is not only unwise, it is also a waste of resources. Preserving the remaining native bushes can also be problematic without proper planning.

If you are going to start with your project, you need to consider a number of factors like the local climate, the soil conditions and altitude. In some cases, autumn is the best time for revegetation because it allows your plants to establish more roots; more roots provide a better chance of survival for the plants. In other areas with different environmental condition, different revegetation practices might be needed.

As in the case of spacing when it comes to planting, certain specifications should be followed to maximize the growth and potential of native plants. These specifications usually include:

● 1 metre for groundcovers
● 1-2 metres for small trees, ex. cabbage tree
● 3-10 metres for large trees, ex. pohutukawa
● 1 metre for shrubs, ex.  manuka, flax

Another specification to consider is the use of native and eco-sourced plants. Using plants endemic to your property that have been sourced locally helps ensure survival of the plants and adds to the ecological distinctiveness of your property.

With the help of a revegetation expert, all these specifications are taken into consideration when planning. An expert also takes into consideration possible setbacks like extreme weather, lowering of landscape heterogeneity, loss of biodiversity, and human intervention to minimize their impact.

You can conduct your own revegetation at your own expense and at your own risk, but with a professional, you save time, money, resources, and you’re assured of a certain degree of success. 

We at Rural Design have been doing revegetation services for so many years. We specialize in ecological restoration using eco-sourced plants, wetland and riprarian restoration. Our years of combined expertise, practical knowledge, and holistic approach to restoration has made us to go to firm by local government, farms, and major landowners for their restoration projects. 

We don’t just implement restoration and revegetation, we plan, support and maintain. We take steps to ensure that the projects we undertake are successful to help landowners like you reap the benefits of your revegetation projects.