Project Update: Winter Workings: Treasure Lake, Petersburg, Kentucky, USA

Well for market gardeners, its the time to rest, winter (at least physically).  For me, being a manager of a 40 acre (16 Ha) native food forest and steward of the total 60 acres (24 HA), its the time to work here at Treasure Lake in Petersburg, Kentucky, USA.  I think back to my forest management doings in the summer and recount the sweat everywhere; head to toe and puddles in my boots.  You still sweat at this time of the year but the work must continue on and its much easier to do with the lack of humidity and leaves. It’s the main work of the winter for me, steward the abundant resources of the forest so in the warmer months I can work on other things.  There are many yields to be harvested, but indeed, you must help the forest along through energy cycling and accelerating succession.  The aim is the many facets of non timber forest products, which some we are yielding now and others doing the work and planning for the future.

Firewood

One of the classic yields of a food forest is fuel.  The bar at Treasure Lake has become one of my homes as I still don’t have any housing there yet.  It is in the works for the spring but for now I transient myself around the tristate area.  But when I am there I prefer to heat with firewood than the diesel heating oil.  It is very expensive and with the large size of the space and inefficiency of our wood stove and the building itself, I have been blowing through stacks of firewood.  If it wasn’t for the ash trees dying out I wouldn’t have any firewood cured and even they aren’t perfect.  So this year I need to be on harvesting firewood for next winter.  It is really sad to see a tree so common in our forest, the ash (Fraxinus spp.), succumb to an insect attack after something weakened its immune system so much that it fell susceptible.  At least thats my theory since I see in holistic models rather in linear lines.  But the pock marks of the larvae moving up and down the tree reveal the cause for its death.  I am trying to not take all the ash out of the forest as they will become great habitat as standing dead timber and a huge carbon resource for building soil.  This winter does remind me to plan ahead and we really need to insulate this 3000 sq feet building much better.  I can burn wood for 14 hours and in the middle of the night wake up freezing after falling asleep very comfortable.  It has been a lot of work but with Holmgren’s principle of Observe and Interact, the interaction has given me key insights into the limitation of access and the equipment we have.  Basically I need an ATV with a trailer or a donkey with a cart to really be able to move materials around this 60 acre (24 ha) property.

Maple Tapping

Annie Woods, the resident farmer with Dark Wood Farm here at the lake, also has a deep love for the forest.  Since she has some time off from the field working in the market gardening (not from the computer of financial stuff and preparing for the coming growing season), we have been able

maple syrup

to hike much more together.  She does enjoy her non timber forest products as well and one she has been committed to over the last years since being back in Kentucky is tapping maple trees for the eventual syrup.  So with some of my mates in town we went to the forest on a cold wintery morning in January to implement the process of yielding this amazing resource of maple water.  Evaluating the sugar bush (a cluster of sugar maples), measuring the tree, drilling a small hole in the tree, inserting the spile, hanging the bucket, putting on the roof cover of the bucket, and well waiting. Then later that day we made our first harvest!  It does take harvesting everyday when the sap runs making it another work task over these weeks. However over the last weeks, we have harvested gallons and gallons of this water and Chris and Annie have been making some maple syrup.  It is incredible how much sap water it takes to make a little bottle of maple syrup. The raw water is also very pleasant to drink alone, a count water alternative, and makes a great cup of coffee or tea.

Forest/ Water Management

The centerpiece of the property visually and business wise is the pay fishing lake.  We are plagued each year by muddy waters in the spring (and sometimes other seasons when heavy rains come)

In background, an log not interacting with the stream because its incised. In foreground, a plunge pool because of large woody debris

and too many nutrients in the lake.  Thus I took an approach with some hired help, my American friends Michael Beck and Loren Heacock, that I actually know from implementing in Portugal.  They bought land a couple hours south near Berea and they came up to work hard and help me out with this massive project.  Upon observation, I decided to implement a multifunction approach to this problem I like to call Restoring Natural Stream Hydrology.  When observing the creeks feeding the lake, they are quite incised but there is a bit of meandering and pool habitat especially where large woody debris has made it into the creek.  Plunge pools can be seen and you can see how the natural layout of rocks does help to trap material and form pools. I had already started this process in other minor drainages throughout the winter but this indeed was a big push.

Thus we went for it, three days of work although I missed a half a day to plug into a meeting on Boone County Planning proposals.  We spent one day on the northside and two on the southside to cover as many major and minor stream ways as possible.  Thus we implemented a network of rock dams, similar to gabbions but without the fencing to tie them together, and woody debris.  Basically the lake receives to much sediment, too much organic material, and too many nutrients.  So by creating these edge elements the water will be slowed, material trapped, and hopefully nutrients tied up as well.  The carbon resources of leaves not flowing into the lake will help with the nutrient problem and along with them and the large logs we threw into the stream, it should help to balance the carbon to nitrogen ration of the lake.  All of the logs were quite rotten, completely inoculated with lots of different types of mycelium.  This should act as a mycofiltration system and eventually run into the leaves as well.  This helps to clean up inevitable toxins floating around in the air and sources within the watershed and soak up nutrients.  It is a very forested watershed but we are stewarding the streams themselves to help with these stated problems.

Along the way of this work, we of course hammered away at the invasive bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose to promote the further growth and expansion of paw paw and spicebush patches, native understory shrubs.  It is incredible to see their proliferation and I am enthused by the feedback loops.  It is such a big property that I am still stumbling into new patches or ones even forgotten about.  Just the other day I went into one where I had seen signs of a pollarding I did with hand tools some years ago, probably three, and did a coppicing this time.  There was so many paw paw and spicebush but I really hammered it hard this time to let that canopy break happen and even more fruiting occur.  It is very fun work to cycle through all the patches and energy cycle these non natives down to the earth to build soil and see the native fruit and spice plants come into the sub canopy and be productive.  I am constantly thinning the paw paw patches as they even number too many trees in a small space.  Taking out small box elders, hackberry, and other natives like sugar maple has also been happening with my mates and on my own.  This gives even more light and sub canopy space.  When working we even were looking at the still lingering effects of the 2012 logging we did when my grandfather was still alive and calling the shots.  We did take some very large trees down, sadly, but it did open the canopy up for these trees to take off and other bigger trees have more canopy space.  I did walk to one of the very large stumps of a Shumard Oak, a type of red oak here, and looked up at the canopy gap that was present from it.  But then looked closely as the stump and realized, probably a raccoon, had come to the stump to eat a paw paw and left all the seeds there.  In this decomposing wood along the banks of the streams, the seeds had then germinated and about 9 little paw paw seedlings were springing out of the stump itself.  This shows just how resilient nature is and an important piece of ecology one must always understand when stewarding natural resources; the vector in which a plant spreads.  The raccoons I am sure love my mission of paw paw paradise.

Design

Meanwhile as winter seemingly drags on, I am busy doing the vast amount of work that it takes to move from conceptual ideas of a place to a real design.  I have been observing this piece of land my whole life and 17 years with the lens of ecology.  And I am making bigger steps to realizing this places evolution into an agrarian community.  Thus I am mapping, designing, researching and working on the project management plan to create this momentum forward.  It is a lot of inertia of stagnation around the place with the history of it, the culture around, and it being owned by my family not myself.  But ideas one day come into fruition.  Just like the idea of having a market garden at the lake took off into a real manifestation.  It took Annie Woods and Chris Pyper and their community of the Dark Wood Farm brand to push it forward and make it happen.  Now the next agricultural expansions are in that next steps phase as the design process unfolds.  From the overall design map to the patch designs for different spaces and elements, its a massive undertaking ripe for winters theoretical slowing down.  I am glad I have this balance, few hours in the freezing winter conditions and hours upon hours on the computer, in meetings, and dialoguing on the buildup.  Annie Woods has been a big help, it feels like a true partnership of collaboration.  And although Chris is leaving back to his native Utah, I do look forward to the next wave of people joining in on this magical piece of land.

Events and Next Steps

We do have one major event to announce that is coming up which is exciting and ties into our educational and non timber forest products missions.  Its called Plantwalkers, hosted by Treasure Lake and produced by Ande Schewe of Wake the Farm Up.  We will be dropping in some forest medicinals during a workshop I will be leading, which is just one of many walks or talks happening that day.  This will be a great event held on March 31st!

Plantwalkers Spring Gathering 2018: March 31st: Click Here

Next steps include keeping going with all of this and planting more trees in the hedgerow started last year.  And decision are to be made on mushroom cultivation, bees, tree crop zones, a well, outdoor kitchen, housing, business structure and my goodness, so much more!  Stay tuned please!

New Article Release: Chapter 5 Climate: Savory’s Brittle and Non Brittle Climate Classification

The more we know about climate the better off we will be towards implementing the ethical basis of permaculture in our projects. Thats how i finish this latest TreeYo EDU article back in Chapter 5, Climate. Savory’s Brittleness scale is a great context builder for your sites and is an important design assessment tool. Is your site Brittle or Non Brittle, does your ecosystem easily break when presented stress or rebound quickly when the same stresses of modernity are presented? Read more at the link below!

https://treeyopermacultureedu.wordpress.com/chapter-5-climatic-factors/savorys-brittle-and-non-brittle-climate-classification/

 

New Article Release: Chapter 14: Fair Share Economics

Our economy is riddled with flaws. In this new article of mine, I present the basis of the argument against it, an ethical approach to economy. Its part of my chapter 14 solutions from my online book, which indeed embodies the article itself, Fair Share Economics. Do you still share like your parents taught you to when you were a kid? enjoy!

https://treeyopermacultureedu.wordpress.com/chapter-14-the-strategies-of-an-alternative-global-nation/fair-share-economics/

tree planters happy, photo by Leigh Vukov

TreeYo & Treasure Lake Project Update: End of the 2017 year

Transition, the word that defines 2017 for me probably most accurately.  After having a great start to the year in Spain and Portugal doing positive work at reforestation, teaching and consulting/design, it ends in the states focused on a familiar project: Treasure Lake.  Each year over the last 12 years of the travel Permaculture lifestyle I spend a certain amount of months there at the lake, my families property for the last 34 years.  Having passed from my grandparents to the next generation I still infuse lots of energy into the place, help run the business, design its future, and implement its necessary changes. I plug into the Cincinnati Permaculture scene while I am there as well as the yoga scene. Now I am focused on dealing with the constant desire to travel and instead stay put there at the lake as that was my intention when I made the decision in June to start to disconnect my life from Europe, my main stay over the last eight years. So I work on those things that pull me away in this time of reflection and remember also my core.  I love to teach, I love to live in community, I love to work hard and creatively in the field.  With that, I recall all I and others have done since July, the last time I wrote about my journey at this place.

(photos below from the PDC in Slovakia in Aug 2017)

Events

At the end of July just before my epic trip to Europe and Slovakia to teach a PDC once more there, myself and long time friend Alex Ryberg were able to successfully pull of a Yoga Retreat Weekend, camping and roots style, but a great event nonetheless. We had about 20 people all in all with the

Aerial Photo, 2017

crew and participants and despite my stress from not being totally prepared for the endeavour, it went really well.  I even got to give an ecology/ permaculture tour, which I really love to do at the lake.  I know so many of the trees and spots there really personally so its great to have that space to communicate my passion for biodiversity.  Additionally, Annie and Chris of Dark Wood Farm, the resident farmers at the lake, were also quite successful in pulling off several events.  First was their fair share potluck for their CSA members.  That got people’s appetite wet to the place, Annie and Chris’s great hosting, and their mate Dave’s culinary prowess of transforming their farm produce along with other local ingredients into fine cuisine.  It was all farm to table style, each unique, the CSA picnic first, then a numerous course sit down dinner, and then a pre thanksgiving brunch/ market stand.  I helped in the ways I could here and there but mainly enjoyed the crowds that congregated out there.

 

Promptly after my return from Europe, I did get another chance to teach fairly straight away.  This time it was again just a tour, only with a small amount of people but the connections from it are what counts.  It was at Treasure Fest, our annual Fest at the lake since 2015.  Back again was Leon

On a sustainable forestry tour at Treasure Fest, 2017, Treasure Lake

Elam, a Northern Kentucky native who plays in the band Canyon Collected.  This time he was there with just one more band member and guests, making their performance under the name The Pickin’ Pear.  He used to play with my mate Brian here in town, Petersburg, before he left for the mountains out west and with Brian being my closest neighbour who is one the same vibe, it was great to work with him once again on this festival production.  At the festival was also Positive Reaction as my community at the lake of people who stop through quite often on the weekends also includes that reggae bands front man, Emmanuel. He is actually in the back playing drums and singing, a very difficult thing to do musically.  They played another night later in the season and we hope to continue to host the band since I love reggae music and Emmanuel has been a customer since the beginning of my grandparents owning the place. We also had a DJ set with another group of friends making the places offerings of music and camping even more diverse. 

Just this past week I was also able to give a free talk at Fab Ferments tap-room on the TreeYo Permaculture Holistic Development Model.  I have had a chance to present it in a few different forms but it grew from its infancy into a new presentation since I announced it a couple of weeks ago.  Putting the presentation together also gave me a bit more of a framework for my chapter 14 writings of my TreeYo EDU site.  The talk went well I felt, I mean it’s a free talk so I guess people got their value and I did receive nice feedback.  But they did support Fab Ferments with their komboucha purchases and other ferments purchases for some holiday gifts.  The crowd of around 20 seemed engaged and sparked some good conversation afterward.  It was nice to get the permaculture crowd together and with it being the holiday time, people from out-of-town were there as well making it even more of a dynamic and diverse crowd.  I love to teach so anything helps and thankful everyone came.

 

Tree planting

This fall I got the great pleasure of enacting my hashtag, #letsplantsometreesyo!  It truly is great to get some friends together and just crack on with planting.  I had already done the clearing and terracing that I teach and a couple of past students came out to help do the planting, guilding, and mulching with compost.  It’s the start to a diverse hedgerow along the northern edge of Dark Wood Farm.  I had to clear some edge brush but was able to put in a block of blueberries, each in its own nuclei,  as you have to do Blueberries in a block format so you can cover for birds.  That was in the middle but on the eastern edge was a food forest style planting with smaller shrubs and bushes in the front, the south side, and bigger trees on the northern side.  We got some pears, plums, and korean dogwood in the back and chokeberry, serviceberry, honey berry, and Siberian pea shrub in the front.  I protected them best I could for now but something I will make more robust over the winter as the deer have done damage to other plantings. I bought the trees and shrubs from the Cincinnati Permaculture Institute nursery, which I was happy to give back to as it helps fund our non profit (CPI).  I am working more and more with them anyway so why not.

Meanwhile around the property I keep going with general clean up and the never-ending process of increasing biodiversity through forestry chop and drop. This builds on the work i have been doing for 16 years of this exact technique and the feedback loops are great. In one such area I managed to get some help again, this time with chopping non native bush honeysuckle in a valley where I had seen a few small paw paw sprouts just a few weeks before.  I have been noticing on the south face that the paw paw’s like these lakeside valleys and produce well there. So I wandered into this valley with this pattern recognition in mind and voila, they were small yet waiting to emerge from a canopy break.  The honeysuckle had been cut a tiny bit in this valley before, just a very beginning of a thinning and maybe that little bit of light is even what helped spur the germination of these few paw paw.  And after the honeysuckle was cut and stacked appropriately in brush piles, some in random spots, some in valley floors to slow water, there was planting of even more Paw Paws.  I got these trees from my mate Ande Schewe of Wake the Farm Up and big contributor to CPI.  They were a mix of seeds from wild and selected varieties so I am curious what comes to be.  It was really easy to dig in this valley because all the good soil was there, helped out by a few big downed trees of the past being silt traps and the sandy and silty nature of the soil there.  Plus with the rampant bush honeysuckle growth nothing was growing below.  It’s nice to continue on this mission of paw paw paradise through chop and drop and this time planting, which I have never done before. I have always just let the paw paw and spicebush come in naturally but I am pushing the principle of accelerating succession and evolution through this pattern recognition.

Conclusion

The market garden at the lake, Dark Wood Farm, had a stellar year and it was fun to plug-in from time to time. I even got some frozen hands and toes moments of harvesting just before the first frost and the first big freeze especially.  A big hats off to Annie and Chris as a team and their larger and inner network to really make it a community effort.  It’s the start of community, which I really hope to expand upon next year.  Calling my network from all around the world, please come join us for a while next year.  A few have already been asking.  And along the way I have been teaming back up with Braden, Chris and Ande to jumpstart more and more in the Cincinnati Permaculture Institute, with Ryan, Lucas, Jacob, Tobias and others in the general Cincy tristate Permaculture scene, cooking things up with Courtney and Zev for things down at Earthhaven, networking for involvement with Permaculture Action Network with my friends in Berea, Kentucky that I actually know from Portugal (Michael and Joanna Beck) and in general with the SE PINA hub, with yoga teachers, builders for redoing the bar, and on and on.  It doesn’t stop.  And sometimes I just want to travel but for now I stay put.  I look forward to teaching again, Weekend PDC and Plant Walkers are the next big ones with some more talks and maybe even braving the winter cold for some outdoor winter forestry permablitz.

Upcoming Events:

Weekend Winter PDC: Feb/Mar 2018: Cincinnati Tri-state Area

Plant walkers Spring Gathering 2018: March 31st: Treasure Lake

New TreeYo EDU Release: Chapter 14: Conscious Consumption with Eco-Entrepreneurship

My media outlet, TreeYo EDU, is releasing an apropos article for this time of the year. What will your consumption patterns do to the planet and people at this time of the year? How can you also become a producer. In essence what is the story behind the purchases, supporting local living economies and eco-entrepreneurs or billionaires? https://treeyopermacultureedu.wordpress.com/chapter-14-the-strategies-of-an-alternative-global-nation/conscious-consumption-with-eco-entrepreneurship/

Treeyo Permaculture Holsitic Development Model: An angled Intro talk

December 20th at Fab Ferments Tap Room, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

https://www.facebook.com/events/140559130052118/

This presentation will focus on looking at the world holistically and a path forward to ensure thrivable future conditions. It draws on the presenters extensive experience in ecological systems management and permaculture design. For 16 years Doug has been active in these movements across five continents. Although a local from Cincinnati, his journey has allowed him to come into contact with many a cultures and projects leading him to this development model proposal. It goes just beyond the environmental part; taking into account the built environment, social systems and financial systems.

Thus the talk will be both practical and a bit of a display of a portfolio but also include theoretical ideas yet to be manifested.

The talk will be held at the Fab Ferments Tap Room, an eclectic space held by the fermenting and local foods legends Jordan and Jenn. Their business is a display of parts of the holistic model giving even more context for the setting. The tap room is open from 4-7 and feel free to come early and get some komboucha before this free talk.

 

PERMACULTURE SWALES

Permaculture Swales, not a silver bullet for water solutions but a very nice technique when the context is right. i like them in the zone 2 context best, not huge ones but just the right size in the right place to have the least change for the greatest effect.

Love Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA: Bringing love into the Business World: Oct 2017

Imagine bringing love into business in a way that heightens the workplace atmosphere and creates definable results from the people care aspect that is necessary in businesses.  Business is what shapes this world, supply and demands shapes our environment, and culture is now conceived of many of the products and services of business.  Thus we need to bring love into these workplaces and that is exactly what the love summit was all about. 

It was thankfully hosted in my hometown of Cincinnati, OH, USA and initiated and run by the amazing woman that is Samantha Thomas through dreamchange.org.  I met Samantha at Maharishi University of Management in 2009 in the PDC I was teaching to her and others and we have remained in contact ever since.  I will forever be in gratitude for inviting me to participate in this summit on a scholarship.  It’s exactly what I needed in the moment, a good healthy dose of a check-in personally, being inspired by others stories and work, and networking to get to know some of these people individually. 

 

The Summit was two days of Jam packed presentations and some other formats for learning including a 9 room breakout where each participant could attend a workshop in that space.  The speakers were from all over the world, there was a diversity present, and very dynamic speakers all in there own way.  Some were more theatric and humorous, some more technical, but all shared an element of personal story.  Because that is love, it means something else to everyone but it is indeed a energy generating force. 

David Gaines of la terza coffee, a local roaster in Cincinnati who was a speaker and presented on their equitable model within the coffee trade

Personal Stories of Transcendence

A common theme indeed was the sharing of peoples journey of their approach of how they were touched by something that allowed them to have this epiphany of bringing more love into there careers.  A common them for that was death or sickness from people around them or within themselves.  It was gut wrenching often and my headache during the experience was probably from fighting back tears speaker after speaker rather than letting them flow.  But these stories all showed how transcendence was possible, which was one of the themes.  We must create a new story around what business values and love needs to be integrated into that.  When we redefine business its easier to create thriving workplace relationships through bringing love in.  Also its easier to not just focus on profits and bring more social and environmental focus and not necessarily decrease profits. 

Purpose

A lot of focus was also on the self care side which is not my strength necessarily.  One main crisis that happens within is the lack of purpose.  I have long known my love for teaching and caring for the earths resources but lately I have been searching for a bit more inside myself.  Hence my intention to stick put more in the states and evolve TreeYo Permaculture, the brand.  I guess my confidence has been waining

Nick Jackson, of Cincinnati, Founder, Speakers of Love

in my ability to do it here back in my hometown region, on family land that is not mine, and without the familiarities of how I navigate in Europe.  So when motivational speaker Nick Jackson of Cincinnati asked me what is your next mountain to climb it was a good exploration.  The conclusions became an increase in team work that is for sure.  Running TreeYo virtually alone these days goes against the brands intention and I need to put a focus on that to increase reach.  With a bit of capital to finally play with in my pocket, i can invest in many things but the workshop reinforced investing in people. I bought a book from powerhouse speaker Judy Wicks, one of the farm to table pioneers, that I can highly recommend, which reinforced all these points.  It was an emotional journey reading her book, seeing how one person could evolve and create so much awareness through business.  I highly recommend it for anybody reading this!

So in the end the research was there to show love in business makes perfect sense and its a trend for sure.  Its people care, we spend so much time at work that we need healthy and thriving relationships for sure.  We need to be thankful and gracious and speak gratitude as often as possible.  We need a human element brought back into the mechanical beast that is capitalism.  It’s a model that is dying because of this and and we need to rewrite the stories about it to form something new.  The love summit indeed does that; bring brilliant thinkers across the board together to bask in love and integrate love into the workplace. Thanks to Sam and all the others who put on this wonderful event, I do feel inspired.  And remember invest in yourself and the others around you. And spread this message in all parts of your life and don’t be afraid to explore that edge in business!± And see you in Chicago next year, i am hooked!

Final Slide in my Patterns presentation, maybe it inspired Sam?

2018 First Course Announcements:

Permaganic Autheticated Course: February 10-18th, Treasure Lake, Kentucky, USA:

We are excited to introduce to you our 9 day Certifier Training for Permaganic Authenticated. This course is for people who have attained their Permaculture Design Certificate, which is the foundation of Permaganic Authenticated. Whether you are a practicing farmer or just looking to expand your economic opportunities within the field of Permaculture, this is a great opportunity to help further the field while earning a living and increasing the livelihood for Permaculture/Regenerative/Mutualistic based farmers.

Winter Weekend PDC: Four Weekends February and March, Tristate Area of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

The course will be a weekend PDC spread out over four weekends   This format allows for extra time for students to digest the material during the week off making it a great format for a holistic learning experience.  Students will also receive hands-on experience and also ample work time on the final design project and presentation. The course will be a certified through TreeYo Permaculture as we are guided by Bill Mollison’s curriculum that comprises the 14 chapters of his book “Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual”.

UMA PERSPECTIVA HOLÍSTICA SOBRE A ORIGEM DOS FOGOS FLORESTAIS E ​ ​ COMO SEGUIR EM DIANTE

Written By Doug Crouch, Temporary Resident of Portugal, Translated by Cristina Moreira

Enquanto a atribuição de culpas por este incêndio tão trágico vai rodopiando intensamente, desejo antes de mais expressar as minhas condolências àqueles que tanto perderam. Vidas, animais, bens, tradições, memórias e muito mais. Para o ecossistema é também uma tragédia. A longa história sobre como chegámos a este ponto é longa e tortuosa e o seu desenrolar por esta perigosa via é o que tento expôr de seguida.

Em primeiro lugar afirmo que todos somos culpados.

Enquanto é fácil apontar o dedo à industria do Eucalipto e assinar petições, temos de olhar para nós próprios em primeiro lugar. Uma indústria como esta, juntamente com a do Pinheiro, não poderia ganhar tão forte peso junto dos que governam se não houvesse tamanha procura.

Tal como a industria do milho domina a política agrícola e o uso da terra nos Estados Unidos – sem a enorme procura de carne barata e bebidas açucaradas, tal não aconteceria.

Perderam-se vidas por causa da procura mal gerida que têm o papel e o papel higiénico e sobretudo pela ideia do quanto mais barato melhor!
Tal como Bob Marley disse:” não julgues se não estiveres preparado para ser julgado”. Agora temos de admitir a dura realidade de que nós criamos a procura, a indústria cria a oferta, a legislação política abre-se às práticas extractivas incestuosas e o ecossistema e os seus habitantes sofrem.

Vivemos na era do consumidor e não não do produtor. Então quando se dirigir ao seu supermercado e comprar aquele papel higiénico super barato, adivinhe, está a comprar a monocultura de Eucalipto em Portugal.

A LONGA HISTÓRIA DA MUDANÇA

Na verdade começou bem lá atrás com o Império Romano. Os Romanos viajavam para a Península Ibérica para caçar, a área era tão rica em vida selvagem nos seus bosques incrivelmente abundantes que eles percorriam longas rotas para encontrar tal recompensa. Como sabemos, a caça em excesso pode iniciar uma via perigosa gerando alterações no ecossistema, também os predadores naturais da caça que se buscava começaram a diminuir devido a esta pratica.

A partir daqui iniciou-se uma longa tradição de extracção nas florestas da Península Ibérica, muitas vezes motivada pelas guerras, e começou também o processo de desertificação, há muitos e muitos anos atrás.

FLORESTA NATURAL Vs MONOCULTURA

madrhono

A floresta natural de carvalho em Portugal é uma criação fantástica funcionando por camadas e criando nichos para muitas criaturas diferentes, sendo inerente a um bosque de alimentos.
A floresta natural tem a altura dos carvalhos combinada com castanheiros nos micro-climas apropriados para a estabilidade da vida selvagem. Vários arbustos de fruta silvestre como o Espinheiro e o Medronheiro oferecem os seus frutos. Vinhas aqui e ali, vegetação ripícola estabilizando os rios, as bolotas alimentando os javalis, os veados alimentando-se da diversidade de arbustos e árvores nativas. Seria quase como uma selva, mesmo com os períodos longos de tempo seco. O ecossistema recebia um fogo de vez em quando pois todos os climas secos têm este equilíbrio. Mas a intensidade do fogo seria fraca. A supressão da floresta nativa e a alteração do ecossistema provocou o proliferar de chamas intensas que vimos mais uma vez este ano acontecer no Centro de Portugal.

 

In background, Eucalyptus and all the sort of the shrubbery that grows along or under Eucalyptus, fuel for fire

A grande indicação que os fogos seriam naturais é nos dada pela magnífica árvore do Sobreiro. Enquanto a maior parte das pessoas à volta do mundo apenas conhece a cortiça quando abre uma garrafa de vinho ou outro produto industrial, a maior parte nunca caminhou por entre uma floresta de sobreiros. A casca grossa e esponjosa que é extraída para rolhas e diversos produtos é na verdade uma reposta da evolução ao facto do fogo fazer parte do ecossistema. Este factor permite regular a paisagem mas não destrui-la. Abranda o fogo e mantém-no num nível mais perto do solo em vez de funcionar como uma árvore combustível por onde o fogo trepa.

Árvores combustíveis por onde o fogo trepa até às copas como o Eucalipto ou o Pinheiro também seriam muito mais espaçadas no seu habitat natural. Enquanto ambas estão também adaptadas para experienciar fogo nos seus ecossistemas nativos, que os humanos até aperfeiçoaram através de fogos controlados para criar espaço de savana para caça, plantá-las com esta densidade é ridículo, especialmente sem a integração de animais.

Se por um lado esta pratica dá origem a uma economia de escala, que é a pedra basilar do capitalismo moderno, estamos na verdade a lidar com uma visão não holística do ecossistema.
Logo, quando o fogo alcança as copas altas destas árvores em monocultura trepando pelo seu material altamente combustível, a intensidade e a expansão dos incêndios é tão rápida, a monstruosidade que se cria é tão incrivelmente perigosa que poderia pertencer a um filme de terror de Hollywood. Mas na verdade tem sido uma realidade para os Portugueses há já vários anos.

A DITADURA

Nos nossos tempos modernos a ditadura em Portugal teve um impacto muito forte no uso da terra. Muitas árvores foram cortadas especialmente no Alentejo interior para a produção de trigo. Uma das maiores repercussões sociais da ditadura foram as ondas massivas de emigração para fora do país nos anos que se seguiram ao seu colapso.

Enquanto até houve algo de positivo derivado destes tempos ( como Portugal ter ficado de fora da 2a Guerra Mundial e não termos sofrido a terrível destruição que sucedeu noutros países europeus que foram arrasados pela guerra ) por outro lado Portugal foi deixado numa difícil situação pois não se encontrava alinhado com os poderes ocidentais e o seu sistema de capitalismo.

Portugal manteve a sua ruralidade e isso fez com que muitos emigrassem para países considerados mais modernizados como a França, Luxemburgo, Suíça, EUA, Canada, etc…

 

POLITICA AGRICOLA COMUM DA UE

Talvez uma das maiores causas desta tragédia seja esta política.
Se é um residente da UE e não a conhece então será melhor estar informado.
Foi devido a esta política que o território em Portugal mudou realmente e o motivo pelo qual muitos secretamente se opõem à UE.
Trata-se de um sistema de distribuição de cotas que retirou a Portugal a sua identidade cultural enquanto produtor de vinho e azeite transformando-o num país florestal.
As histórias abundam por todo país mas ouve-se muito na zona Centro de Portugal onde as pessoas foram pagas para retirarem as culturas de Oliveiras e Vinhas. Os seus tradicionais modos de vida foram extintos e as pessoas mais uma vez deixaram os campos criando ainda mais abandono.
O abandono é perigoso para os terrenos cujos ciclos naturais foram perturbados durante tanto tempo pois vão acumulando reservas de material carbónico não reciclado com o passar dos anos.
A presença de pessoas e a vida selvagem juntamente com os microorganismos do solo teriam gerido ativamente as reservas de carbono e transformando-as em solos ricos criando assim uma paisagem mais resiliente.
Com a retirada das pessoas, vida selvagem e microorganismos, derivando numa multitude em espiral de reações em cadeia de causa e efeito, o ecossistema entra em declínio ainda mais acentuadamente e torna-se vulnerável a que seja afinal o fogo a reciclar o material carbónico acumulado.

Então basicamente, o que a UE faz é oferecer subsídios selectivos para culturas específicas, as pessoas acolhem-nos e uma indústria específica é desenvolvida.
A partir do momento em que esta política da UE foi instituída e intensificada ao longo dos anos, adoptou-se como solução para mercados inexistentes para as culturas tradicionais ou para se ser um proprietário ausente: Simplesmente plantar uma arvores florestais assinando um contrato incentivado pelos subsídios da UE, esperar até as culturas florestais estarem prontas uns anos mais tarde e receber altos ganhos por não trabalhar e apenas vender o ecossistema.

A indústria foi crescendo em força e controlo sendo que as pessoas não conseguiam vender as terras em Portugal pois quem quereria vir para este país esquecido, economicamente deprimido e em esforço para acompanhar o passo dos países mais desenvolvidos?
Agora já não é assim. Muitos estrangeiros começaram a vir para o interior de Portugal buscando um estilo de vida auto-suficiente, longe das suas localidades

no norte da Europa. E mais recentemente há um número nas gerações jovens de Portugueses que começam a deixar as cidades e a mudar-se para o campo.

Mas o dano foi causado antes da sua chegada. Enormes extensões de terrenos exibem esta monocultura produzindo resultados desastrosos. Sabemos isto. Sabemos a quantidade de químicos usados nas monoculturas de milho no centro oeste dos Estados Unidos ou nos campos de trigo em Espanha.

E sabemos que em Portugal morrem pessoas todos os anos, na sua maior parte bombeiros que ganham menos de 2 euros por hora para combaterem os incêndios.

Nem todas as pessoas no mundo têm acesso a papel higiénico. Na India, por exemplo, as pessoas usam água para se limparem quando vão à casa de banho. A nossa cultura instantânea não é uma Permacultura ( cultura permanente ) e há muito que trocámos a visão a longo prazo pela conveniência do lucro rápido.
É um enorme paradoxo aquele em que vivemos em que ao usarmos o papel higiénico barato para nos limparmos na casa de banho estamos a contribuir para a extinção da vida selvagem através do fomento desta monocultura e que neste caso originou uma severa e dramática perda de vidas.

Chopped brown material of bracken fern and blackberry, mechanically cut which are two incredible ladder fuels when they dry out, Tabua, Central Portugal

 

Nota da tradutora:

*Outro efeito devastador dos incêndios são as enxurradas quando chega a época das chuvas. Nos terrenos queimados e devastados pelo fogo, a água das chuvas cai e não chega a penetrar nos solos. Acumula e desliza com força pelas ladeiras levando tudo à frente e causando inundações, mais destruição e danos

A salvaguarda e reflorestação de árvores autóctones contribui para a retenção de água nos solos restabelecendo o Ciclo Hidrológico, reequilibrando o ecossistema, tornando os solos férteis e aumentando as fontes de água limpa. Na verdade são estas as maiores riquezas que um país pode ter no seu território a médio e longo prazo. E sim, evitam os incêndios… Ou seja, restabelece-se o Ciclo Natural do ecossistema.*

SOLUÇÕES

Primeiro que tudo precisamos mudar o modo de pensar para um modelo holístico. Se não cortarmos com a via do modelo de Dualismo Cartesiano, estaremos a abrir o caminho que leva à extinção da nossa espécie.
Sim, por favor, assinem as petições para deixarem os políticos conhecer o número de pessoas em Portugal que deseja ver a paisagem diversificada do seu Património Natural ser reposta.

Façam pressão sobre os políticos mas também tomem a iniciativa da acção. Necessitamos de um pacote massivo de ajuda que dirija os fundos para o corte das árvores que restam deste incêndio gigantesco e dispô-las no contorno das curvas de nível dos terrenos para que quando as chuvas vierem não levem consigo as cinzas. Com fogos de temperaturas tão elevadas e o alto teor de sílica nesta região Centro de Portugal, os solos tornar-se-ão como vidro deixando essencialmente o efeito de degradação na paisagem por muitos anos. A única

forma de evitar isto é colocar diques de retenção usando os troncos da árvores para abrandar a erosão, prender cinzas e sedimentos e permitir a infiltração de água nos solos. Essencialmente, trata-se de construir terraços com a madeira destas árvores que já se encontram no local.

 

Garanta que os seus terrenos permitem a infiltração de água no solo, que o seu portfólio de biodiversidade está a ser diversificado, que os seus terrenos são limpos com ajuda mecânica e meios biológicos. Escrevi há alguns anos sobre como os animais, neste caso vacas, estavam integrados na limpeza das florestas num caso que conheci em Portugal.

Convide os pastores a trazerem os animais para as suas terras ou torne-se também um pastor. Vamos reavivar esta tradição. Precisamos dos arbustos fixadores de nitrogénio e que os arbustos que crescem debaixo dos eucaliptos sejam reciclados, garantido que os ramos e cascas dos eucaliptos permaneçam no chão para que possam servir de alimento a fungos e que os estrume dos animais repovoe os ecossistemas degradados.

Necessitamos desesperadamente que gado e rebanhos tragam o seu impacto animal especialmente desde que a vida animal que o fazia antes há muito se extinguiu.
Em oito anos em Portugal apenas vi dois veados. Use empresas ecológicas como a EcoInterventions para limpar os terrenos ou os serviços dos bombeiros mas assuma fortemente esta responsabilidade.

Invista em produtos ecológicos e serviços como os desta empresa. Se for um Designer de Permacultura em Portugal, todo o design necessita ter uma secção relativa a incêndios.
Plante espécies que sejam retardadoras de fogo e garanta que os limites da sua propriedade estejam limpos e plantados com plantas suculentas.

Faça circular a água e o carbono. Se é um proprietário ausente, faça um acordo de arrendamento de baixos custos com jovens permacultores / caseiros para trabalharem a sua terra ou até mesmo invista na propriedade para que eles possam fazer melhoramentos.

Compre produtos locais e Portugueses e se tem um negócio de Turismo por favor garanta que compra produtos biológicos e locais para apoiar este re- desenvolvimento do território. Há tanto dinheiro a vir do Turismo neste momento e a quantidade de comida sem qualidade dos supermercados que já me foi servida quando viajo, mesmo em hotéis mais caros, pousadas e turismos rurais é surpreendente.

Use menos papel higiénico, sempre que puder use a água para se limpar. Use lenços de tecido para se assoar e guardanapos de tecido.
Fomente o espírito de comunidade e as “Ajudadas” ( grupos organizados de entre-ajuda entre vizinhos ) para limparem as terras.

Pressione os municípios a investirem na estabilização da Bacia Hidrográfica nos diferentes locais e criem Conselhos de Protecção da Água para que estes movimentos ganhem força.

Plante espécies nativas e incorpore não nativas em Bosques de Alimentos. Pressione os municípios de forma a garantir que espécies retardadoras de incêndio sejam plantadas ao longo de caminhos de saída.

Quase todas as imagens que vimos dos locais onde pessoas morreram ao tentar fugir das chamas mostram eucaliptos e pinheiros plantados até à beira da estrada. Esta falta de visão no planeamento é a causa e uma enorme tragédia e drama é o efeito.

A lista continua mas é sem duvida em todos nós que reside a responsabilidade de garantir que tragédias como esta não voltam a acontecer e que vidas não sejam perdidas em vão.

* Doug Crouch é licenciado em Aquacultura e Gestão de Vida Selvagem e Designer e Professor de Permacultura com uma vasta experiência internacional. Com origem dos Estados Unidos, é residente temporário em Portugal. treeyopermaculture.com

New Zealand Mirror Plant, Coprosma repens, fire suppressing plant from New Zealand. from http://www.aphotoflora.com/af_coprosma_repens_tree_bedstraw.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small breed nimble cattle on Biodynamic farm near Amarante, North Central Portugal, cleaning up below Eucalyptus plantations

Referred to Excerpt on using Animals in the Landscape

Cows can also be used to accelerate the succession of the soil and turn a problem into a solution as I once witnessed at a rangeland in the North of Portugal.  It was a steep terrain, classically planted out with Eucalyptus monoculture, which of course makes for a fire prone hillside, which is an extremely dangerous system to create.  However, one farmer there began to raise smaller and more agile beef on these hillsides that browsed more like goats than say Angus beef.  They were tractored in a sense with electric fence being moved daily or every other day in and amongst the Eucalyptus groves.  Part of Eucalyptus’s fire strategy is to constantly shed its bark through its fast growth and drop branches.  This adds quite considerably to the fuel load below and what most grows in the understory is a mix of nitrogen-fixing bushes.  These are often quite nutritious for animals and the cows primary intake was this fire prone vegetation as well.  With the cows ranging in a small pasture, they were able to knock down the branches and bark of the Eucalyptus and chip them up and other organic material with their weight and hooves which drastically cuts the fire risk.  The material has a chance to break down biologically instead of oxidatively.  The cow manures the hillsides reinserting biology back into the system that was lost during spray, spray, spray implementation which also speeds the breakdown of this newly chipped organic material.  Then they are quickly moved on so the ground is not over compacted, the bushes are not overgrazed but the animal impact occurs.  He was so successful with his rotation that neighbors allowed him to graze his cattle on their land and was able to increase his herd size and thus profit.  He was hoping to phase out his day job in town because of this which would of course result in an even stronger system due to even more refined management.

 

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