Regenerative Land Use
Saturday, October 22nd 9:00am
Peter Bane, founder of Permaculture Activist Magazine, and author of The Permaculture Handbook, is at work on a book about the intersection of land use and water cycles. Peter will frame the morning’s discussion by reflecting on soil and water cycles, which have been systematically overlooked by climate scientists seeking the causal mechanism for global heating. Vegetation in the form of forests, grasslands, and wetlands has regulated the climate through many swings of CO2 levels. However, the cumulative impact of 10,000 years of forest removal, agricultural degradation of soils, draining of wetlands, and urbanization—accelerating exponentially over the past three centuries—has so damaged the biosphere’s capacity to exhaust heat that we are rapidly approaching a threshold beyond which it may not be possible to reverse the process.
Carbon sequestration in the form of soil repair and revegetation will be required to restore the small water cycle over land, but if sequestration becomes the goal without regard for hydrology, those efforts may be insufficient to alter the trajectory of global warming. We need our actions to have multiple effects. What this means is that carbon must be captured by plants and soils rather than from smokestacks as now proposed by technological ideologues. If we can repair the damage we have wreaked on biotic communities, the beneficial effects on the water cycle may achieve what we must try at all costs to do: prevent further heating and reverse the trend of recent decades.
Farmer David Brandt has been experimenting with conservation practices on his Ohio farm for over forty years. He’ll reflect on his journey which began with no-till agriculture, led to experimentation with a variety of cover crops, and has resulted in healthier soils, increased yields, andfruitful research partnerships with the NCRS and Ohio State University.