The Farmers' Handbook, Part 5 - Forest, Soil and Other Topics


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The Farmers' Handbook, Part 5 - Forest, Soil and Other Topics

  1. 1. Forest, Soil, & Other TopicsThe Farmers Handbook
  2. 2. CONTENTS Subject Chapter No:This Volumes Authors : Chris Evans, Laxman Rana, Hari Dhungana, Mrs Malati LakoulEdited, Designed & Produced by: Chris Evans & Jakob JespersenTranslated from Nepali by Chris Evans Introduction to this Volume .......................... 1Proof reading: thanks to Mike Feingold, Margaret Evans, Ted Albins, Rupert Greville, AndyLangford, Looby MacnamaraPhotos: Jakob Jespersen, Chris Evans Forest Management ...................................... 2Addional photo credits are given at the end of this VolumeCover illustration: Mr Motilal Phauja Soil Conservation and improvement ............ 3Typing: Chris EvansComputer Coordination: Graphics Edge, KathmanduPublished by: Chris Evans, Jakob Jespersen...... A-Frame ........................................................ 4Distributors: .......... (see p.8 for address)Printed by: Format Printing Press, Kathmandu...... Community Fund .......................................... 5First Edition (Nepali) printed June 2001, 7500 copiesThis Edition.........Farmers Handbook, ISBN 99933-615-0-X....... Land Design .................................................. 6This Volume : 99933-615-5-0 Glossary ......................................................... 7 The Farmers Handbook is about techniques for sustainable farming and this is the fifthof 5 volumes. There are 5 techniques and several miscellaneous topics presented here. In five Practical Literacy .......................................... 8volumes there are 40 techniques and approaches in total. Acknowledgements ....................................... 9 This Farmers Handbook is meant for education and awareness raising as well aspractical gardening uses. It is permitted to photocopy for such purposes, but please remember Introduction to Permaculture....................... 10that photocopying can cause pollution to the environment, is expensive & does not give a goodquality. Grihasthi Publications resources ................ 11 Chapters are separated by a yellow page
  3. 3. Aims ls;fgsf] xft]lstfa - – o; efusf] main aim of this handbook is to help farmers make The Farmers Handbook kl/ro this Volumes Introduction The their own farms more successful. This is done by providing This is the fifth volume of a five volume production of information about using simple methods which strengthen,the Farmers Handbook. In all, there are forty techniques & rather than damage the environment, and help to createapproaches shown, of which six are in this fifth volume. sustainable livelihoods for future generations.Because this is the final volume, its design is slightly differentto the previous 4 volumes. At the start of this volume we Backgroundintroduce you to some of the techniques used in community The techniques described in the handbook are the resultsforests, and for regenerating land. The chapter on Land of research made by the farmers of Surkhet and JajarkotDesign then summarises all the chapters in this Farmers districts of Mid-Western Nepal. We believe these methods willHandbook. Finally, there are some miscellaneous topics. also work well for farmers of other countries. However, This Farmers Handbook has been prepared to provide around the world there are diverse climates and soils, and soinformation about sustainable farming techniques as well as we expect that small changes will need to be made in thebeing a resource to run literacy programmes. Information techniques according to this diversity. Similarly, it may beabout such programmes and how the Handbook can be used necessary to change plant species according to climatic region,is provided in this volume. As well as technical information, a but their function will remain the same. For example, theglossary of new and difficult words is also provided in this chapter on the Living Fence describes the use of thorny plantsvolume.  as a barrier. In the low altitude, hot Tarai of southern Nepal, "Babool" (Acacia nilotica) is suitable for this. But this does not grow in the higher elevations. Here, species such as wild pear, wild blackberry and Sea Buckthorn make a good living fence.  Evaluation & Feedback Comments and questions about the techniques and approaches described in this handbook will be most welcome. Suggestions for improvement will be used for future editions of this handbook and other similar publications.
  4. 4. Thank You We would like to say a big thanks to all the friends who Forest Management 2helped us to complete this Farmers Handbook. Apart from those named and pictured here, there are countless others Soil Conservation and Improvement 3 who have supported us throughout the task. Various farmers A-Frame 4 groups have helped to develop and evaluate Proof the Handbook. It is for such groups that the Handbook has been produced. reader Techniques Community Fund 5 Proof Proof reader reader Land Design 6 Proof reader ?system cambi sci on um Glossary 7 Practical Literacy 8 Computer support Printer Picture Acknowledgements 9 So on behalf of the Farmers Introduction to Permaculture 10 Handbook, heres a very, very big Thank You ! From the Producers and Designers Grihasthi Publications resources 11Chris Evans Jakob Jespersen
  5. 5. Appropriate Technology AsiaP.O. Box 8975 EPC 849 Distributor andKathmandu, Nepaltel: +977 1 5549774 main Permanent Publications The Sustainability Centre East MeonHampshire GU32 1HR tel: +44 1730 823311 Association UKBCM Permaculture AssociationLondon WC1N 3XX Himalayan Permaculture Group, P.O.Tel: +44 845 4581805 Box 19121, Kathmandu, lxdfn lb3f{o ;d"x, n]v˚;f{ – @, k/fgf] ufp“, ;v]{t Nepal Permaculture Group P.O.Box 8132, Kathmandu, Nepal Tel: +977-1- 252597 email:- Funding Support Support for the production and printing of The Farmers Handbook has come from ActionAidNepal, MSNepal, Methodist Relief & Development Fund (UK), GTZ Food for Work, Hill Agriculture Research Project (HARP). In this volume, the chapter on "Soil Conservation and Improvement has been supported by Helvetas Nepal
  6. 6. What isThe Farmers Handbook - "Forest, Soil and other Topics", Chapter 2 - Forest Management Forest Management ? Forest Manage- ment is the way that forests and the trees within them are pro- tected and used to pro- vide forest products and other benefits. In order to manage a forest, the different objectives must be decided upon, and a work plan is made ac- The forest we keep, keeps us. cording to this. Just like any farm management, the work plan to manage a forest means what work to do, where, when, and how. Before start- ing forest management, the capacity and working process of those who are to do the work and benefit from it (user group) should be considered. This may be a community, family, individual, or other organisation which will work in and ben- efit from the forest. In Nepal, community forest is a resource of primary importance. Thats why its very important for communities and user groups to learn about forest management. In this chapter, information is given in particular about community and private forest mangement.
  7. 7. do Forest to do Forest Why Management ? How Management ? Most people already know that the forest gives them Backgroundmany direct and indirect benefits. Daily needs such as fodder,firewood, leaf litter, timber, and various herbal medicines are A very important factor together with "how" to manageavailable in the forest. The forest not only protects and im- forests is "who" is managing them. Considering this, theproves the environment around settlements, it even helps to Nepali government has made various regulations. The Forestprovide us with safe, clean drinking water. Department, together with non-government and other organi- This is something that people have come to understand sations have participated in developing a set of regulations tosince early days. It is also why forest management has been help forest user groups manage their own forests.part of the local community for a long time. The forest law covers the management and use of reli- But for many reasons, the forest has been disappearing gious forests, leasehold forests, government managed forestsbefore our eyes. As population has continued to increase, on and protected forests. However, community forest and privateone hand more forest resources are needed, yet on the other forest are considered to be the most important types of forest. hand, population pressure has decreased In recent years, the amount of community managed the forest area and had a bad affect on forest has increased greatly. However, user groups have still the environment. With efficient and not been able to realise the benefits of truly sustainable forest appropriate ways of conserving and management. developing forest products such as trees and medicinal herbs, the well-being and Over time, there have been many ways that the forest productivity of the family and commu- has been protected, developed and its products distributed nity can increase, and poverty will de- amongst its users in homes and villages. These management crease. methods have been improved in different places and at differ- ent times, but there is still room for improvement. We should now use the lessons of experience, and take forest manage- This Chapters Author : ment forward to cater for the increasing population. Hari Prasad DhunganaFederation of Community Forest Users Groups, Nepal2 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 2 - Forest Management 3
  8. 8. Community Forest Needs and abilities of the community or individual This is where national forest has come under a local The different needs of a community or individual willmanagement plan, and has been handed over from the district determine why and how to manage the forest. In communityforest office to a village committee responsible for the imple- forestry, the needs and hopes of the community are mostmentation of the management plan. important. But individual or family needs usually take prior-Private Forest ity in private forests. In managing a community forest, the opinions of all This is where trees and forest on any private, registered users of the forest are important to create the managementland may be managed. plan. This may include religious or cultural reasons for pro- Some details of registering community and private forest tecting or using the forest.are give on page 14. This a map made by the user group for a forest management plan in Kavre district, Central Nepal By planting trees on farm land, forest products are brought closer to the home. This saves time and helps to protect the forest. Read the Agroforestry chapter to learn more.Things to consider in forest managementObjectives of forest management The forest can be managed for various objectives. Themain objective of managing community forest is often tosustainably provide for the needs of firewood, fodder, timber, What is a Forest Management Plan ?etc. in the community. Management of private forest may, for A forest management plan is a written or understoodexample, be for the maximum output of good quality timber. agreement for a programme of work in the forest, in terms ofThere may be many other objectives in forest management. who does it, and where, when and how the work is done. InJust as the objectives are different, the management work in community forestry terms this can also be called an "actionthe forest will also be different. plan", and can include issues relevant to national forest law.4 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 2 - Forest Management 5
  9. 9. Forest Site Conditions Finding the resources to manage the forest The condition of the forest will differ in different places. There are various resources needed in the process ofFactors such as types and species of trees and shrubs, soil type, forest management. For example, if making a plantation, ormoisture, fertility, and aspect all cause great diversity, and other activities, there must be good public participation toaffect productivity in the forest. While preparing the forest form the users group committee, and agree on the manage-management plan, an evaluation of the growing stock of pro- ment plan. This can be called the human resource. It costs toductive trees and shrubs, and their growth rates is an important produce seedlings to plant, and there are many other visiblestep. Keeping good records of this will enable the user group to and invisible costs that the people managing the forest willestimate the amount of products which can be sustainably need to bear. These human, financial and physical resourcesgathered from the forest area. have a big affect on management work in the forest. Here you can see the trees, but its not a good forest. There are no plants in the ground layer, so this space has no productivity. Important re- sources such as There are many soil are lost types of plants without the in a good forest. forest cover.6 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 2 - Forest Management 7
  10. 10. In this community Naturally regener- forest, unwanted ated seedlings usually species have just been grow better than cut back, and useful planted seedlings. thinnings harvested. planted naturally regenerated The same area 1 year later, the forest has In a productive grown back well. After a and truly sustain- while it will be cut back able forest there again. Such work im- are many types of proves the forest.. trees and shrubs which fill all layers of the for- est, from ground layer to upper canopy.8 9
  11. 11. Work in the ForestPlantation Bare ground, clear glades in the forest, and even terraceedges in fields can all be planted with useful trees. Appropri-ate non-timber and medicinal plants which are needed by the Forest killershousehold and community can be chosen and planted, as wellas trees grown for timber. These can be grown in a nursery, or Thinningwild plants can be collected from the forest and planted. To Thinning practice is different depending on the differentlearn about species selection, planting distance, propagation objectives of the forest management plan. For example, if theand planting methods, you should seek technical advice from objective is only firewood production, trees can be grownthe relevant places, such as the local district forest office or closer together. But for good quality timber, the lowerappropriate NGO, and request extra training. branches of selected trees may need pruning. Some types of fodder tree are best cut in different ways at different times of the year. To make space for more valuable species, less useful Plant more use- trees and shrubs can be gradually cleared. For example, if ful plants in there is too much pine, this can be thinned out and other more bare areas of useful or desired species planted in the gaps. the forest. If many branches regrow from the stumps of cut trees (coppicing), a good tree can be grown by selecting the best one or two stems and cutting the remainder.Weeding and FireControl Clear weeds from around newly planted or regeneratedseedlings to help them grow, and protect the area from theharmful effects of fire and free-range livestock. Some treesmay suffer more from fire, while slow growing plants suffermore from weed competition. This work protects trees frompests and diseases, and helps the seedlings to grow faster.10 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 2 - Forest Management 11
  12. 12. More information about this is given in the Soil Conser- For sustainable harvesting from the forest, productsvation and Improvement, Integrated Orchard, and should not all be harvested at the same time. Once an estimateAgroforestry chapters. has been made of the growing stock and growth rates, accord- ing to this a fixed proportion of the growth can be harvested.Final Harvest This will help to improve the forest without over-harvesting. Fodder trees may be cut several times a year, or onceevery 2 years, after which they will regrow. Harvesting timber Registering a Community Forestmeans felling the whole tree. Some herbal medicines come According to the current forest law in Nepal, communityfrom harvesting roots, some from fruit, or flowers, or bark, forest is given priority for development. The forest user com-etc. In this way benefits are harvested according to the man- mittee is givenagement plan. The management should include planning and responsibility forpreparation for future rotations of crops. protection of and distribution of By selecting and products from the thinning, useful community forest. products are The local commu- harvested as well nity forms the user as improving the group to manage all this responsibility. Bhaisepati Womens remaining forest. Community Forest Saibu-4, Bhaisepati, 1998 • The community should form a users committee which can make an applica- tion to the District Forest Office. • Taking advice from the Forest Office and/or related NGOs, the committee should prepare a clear, simple constitution. • After registering the constitution at the forest office, a If the future forest management plan is made. regrowth of the for- • When the plan is approved, the forest is handed over to the est is part of the community. management plan, it • Its a good idea to take advice from related organisations for can be sustainable. technical and management advice while managing the forest.12 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 2 - Forest Management 13
  13. 13. Registering a Private Forest Farmers land is often left unused, for example because Farmers Mr Ammarthey do not have the time or other resources to farm it. Byplanting trees, or by protecting naturally regenerated trees on Experience Bahadur Gurungsuch wasteland, or even on existing farmland, it is possible tomake a private forest.• Output from the private forest goes to the landowner. When From Nepal, Surkhet district, the private forest is registered, these products can be sold Gumi - 4, Mr Ammar or traded . Bahadur Gurung is the Vice-• To register the forest, the land and its distribution of trees Chairman of "Longlake Com- should be described in the application to the forest office. munity Forest". Now lets• The forest office will check your application against what read about his experiences. is on the land, then issue you a certificate of registration for Our local forest was very the private forest.• Once the forest is registered, you do not need to go through æ good up until 1980. After that, people stopped caring. Live- any other process of registry in order to sell products from stock were let loose into the the forest. forest, and people cut wherever they liked. That led to more Ammar Bahadur Gurung landslides and floods, and even whole houses were washed away. Then, in 1994 this forest was handed over to the community as Lampokhari Com- munity Forest. It is 9 hectares in area. After making a forest management plan, various rules were made. Livestock arent allowed in, and the forest is opened twice a year to Mr Surya Adhikari of cut fodder and firewood, which isnt allowed any other Begnas, Nepal, changed this time. Each person pays 2 rupees to be allowed to cut a land from bare ground to a rich, diverse food forest. As load. Because of laws like this, the forest has grown and well as producing fodder, developed very well. Dead and badly shaped branches are firewood, etc. for the home, taken out, and dead trees can be bought and cut for timber. he also produces fruit for The cash income from sale of forest resources goes into the cash income. local community fund.14 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Æ Chapter 2 - Forest Management 15
  14. 14. Read On ! Grihasthi Communications Subjects Related to Forest Management This book provides much of the information needed tohelp manage your own forest. However, this information isalso linked to other methods. For extra benefits lets read,learn and practice from other related chapters. Soil Conservation and Improve- ment chapter Information is given about the nature of soil, how to protect existing soil, and lots of ideas about how to regenerate damaged soil into productive land again. Agroforestry chapter Planting trees on farmland can bring farmers many benefits. But you cant plant any type of tree just anywhere. This chapter gives information on how to plant trees without affecting farm yield. Integrated Fruit Orchard chapter Information on how to plant fruit trees with various other multi-purpose trees to give more and quicker benefits for less work is given in this chapter. Living Fence chapter By planting a fence made of trees, production can be much more than just a barrier. This chapter tells how to make and manage a living fence.
  15. 15. The Farmers Handbook - "Forest, Soil and other Topics", Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement What is Soil Conservation & Improvement ? All plant life needs soil to germinate, grow and live its life. If the soil and soil management is good, farm production will also be good. The condition of Bare land becomes greener as the our environ- soil recovers in Surkhet, Nepal ment, society and economy all depend on the health of the soil. If the soil can be kept fertile, production increases, the local economy is strong, and society is safe. Just like skin covers our bodies, so soil covers the Earth. Just like our bodies are damaged if our skin is broken, or wounded, so the Earth is harmed, and production decreases if the soil is damaged or washed away. If the soil is damaged, the farming community also suffers great harm. So we need to understand the needs of soil, and what can damage it. This chapter also gives information on how soil can be sustainably protected and improved.
  16. 16. Soil and its Needs The roots of the plant in picture 1 are shown close up in picture 2. Different climates have different types of soils . Often, This is shown evenone type of climate will also have many different types of closer in picture 3.soil. But whatever the soil, they all have similar ingredients inthem. Such as :-• mineral particles - these forms the main part of soil• air• moisture (water) 1 2• animal life (visible and microscopic)• roots of living plants• organic matter (dead plants and animals that are in the process of being broken down) 3 organic Fertile soil gives matter air good production for all the farms crops root hair mineral (this takes up particle nutrients and root The ingredients listed above are found in all soils in agreater or lesser amount. When they are in the right amount, water for the plant)the soil is naturally fertile. This booklet’s author Everything else is soil water, or moisture. In the Chris Evans, advisor, water are many nutrients, and countless micro- Himalayan Permaculture Group, Nepal scopic organisms are also active in this water. www.designedvisions.com2 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 3
  17. 17. According to the soil type, these Needs of the soildifferent elements are present in dif- Testing Soil What is needed to protect and maintain fertility in the soil ?ferent amounts. For example, lets The contents of the soil descibed above - air, minerals,compare sandy and clay soils. Put a handful of soil in a jar of organic matter, living roots, moisture and living organisms - water and shake are all essential in the right quantities for healthy soil. WhenSandy Soil they are all present, soil is naturally self-fertile. Adding the well. Leave it to• mineral particles are large right quantities as needed also maintains the quality of the settle for 4-5• air spaces between the mineral soil. But if any one ingredient is present in a lesser or greater days. The dif- particles are large amount than normal, the quality of the soil can be harmed, or ferent types of• lots of air in the soil it can also be improved. mineral parti- As a result of this :- A small wound on the cles will settle• soil is light and well aerated into separate skin of the Earth.....• the soil doesnt hold water, and layers dries out faster• nutrients are washed out quicklyClay Soil• mineral particles are small 1• space between the particles is 2 small ..... can make a big landslide.• less air in the soil This should be prevented 3 As a result of this :- from starting.• the soil is heavy• as soon as it rains, the soil is 4 All the different ingredi- saturated and stays wet for a long ents in the soil work together to time. But when it dries, the soil is help plants to grow. But more 1. Organic matter important than these minerals, living roots, organic matter, very hard• nutrients are held in the soil but if 2. Clay particles etc. are the living organisms in the soil. In particular, the tiny, there is less air in the soil, plants 3. Loam particles invisible organisms, such as bacteria,and fungi play a huge cant get the nutrients so easily 4. Sand particles role in maintaining and increasing soil fertility. These are collectively called micro-organisms.4 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 5
  18. 18. Soil life and micro-organisms Actually, micro-organisms are probably the most impor- Life in the Soiltant life on our planet. Living in one teaspoon of fertile forestsoil there are 2 billion micro-organisms. Larger organisms,and many types of fungi are also responsible for breakingdown dead plants and animals. This forms organic matter. earthwormThen, the smaller micro-organisms - mainly bacteria andfungi - take the organic matter and change it so plant roots(the root hairs) can absorb the nutrients, as we cook bread Larger organisms which can be seen willfrom flour. Even if there is plenty of organic matter in the break down larger pieces of organic matter,soil, without the work of micro-organisms, this cannot be and help to get air into the soil. The smallertaken up by the roots of living plants until it is "cooked". micro-organisms eat their waste. Leaves and branches, dead animals, etc. fall on the soiland are broken down. Micro-organisms eat them. Then, it is fungi Plants absorb the waste fromtheir waste in the soil which plant roots absorb as nutrients. micro-organismsThis allows the plants to grow and continue the cycle of life. Cycle of nutrients Plants take the and the work of nutrients and micro-organisms bacteria grow How soil is damaged Soil organisms When soil is left bare, it can be damaged very easily. break down Many things can damage bare soil, such as :- organic matter • sun :- strong sun will dry out the soil. Dry soil hardens and Soil fertility cracks the soil. Micro-organisms will die in dry, hard soil. micro-organisms • water :- when it rains on bare soil, the top layer will set eat the nutrients and hard. On slopes, the topsoil is washed away downhill. organic matter is • wind :- wind will dry out all the moisture from bare soil, excrete them as made into nutrients waste and can actually blow the top soil away.6 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 7
  19. 19. Comparing soil with and without mulch Protected from the sun, wind and rain, the organic matter, On these 2 pages the effects of mulching and not mulch- soil moisture and beneficial micro-organisms all benefit froming are compared together. The left page diagram (a) shows mulching the soil. You need to consider where resources forwhat happens with no mulch on the soil, while the right page mulching can be found, such as leaf litter, straw, etc. Leavesdiagram shows the example of a mulched soil. The top diagram can be brought from the forest, but this takes time. To produceshows water 1 lost to evaporation, 2 running off the soil, and more resources for mulching, its best to use Agroforestry and3 soaking into the soil. The cycle below each drawing also a Living Fence - see these chapters for more details. Learnshows the effects of mulching or not mulching on soil quality. more about the methods and benefits of mulching in the Mulching chapter. Cultivated, un-mulched soil Mulched, un-cultivated soil a Rain washes a Soil is deep, sun away fertile sun fertile, and soil, more strong well pro- water is lost plant tected. More rain rain 1 1 to the sun, moisture, weak plant less nutri- 3 3 more soil life, ents are held 2 2 plants are in the soil, more healthy and less soil life less moisture small roots plants are more soil life bigger roots strong. weak. moisture b soil less b lots of lots of ploughed, organic plants mulch left bare matter more need less air more healthy to plough in soil moisture Spiral of soil Spiral of destruction productivity difficult to less softer richer cultivate moisture soil soil fewer roots grow more hard soil earthworms deeper earthworms8 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 9
  20. 20. Other things which damage the soil So, what to do if nutrient deficiencies are recognised by these symptoms ? The chart below gives examples of plants• Chemical fertilizers :- these harm the soil micro- which accumulate greater amounts than usual of certain organisms and so cause the soil structure and nutrient nutrients. These can be used in mulch, compost or liquid uptake to be damaged. manure so those nutrients which are lacking can be added to• Artificial poisons :- as well as killing pests, these kill many the soil. They are called dynamic accumulators. beneficial insects and organisms which work in the soil.• Big, heavy machinery :- big machines such as tractors plant contains lots of compress the soil so that there is less air space. They mustard phosphate, nitrogen, iron destroy the structure of the soil, as well as damaging soil buckwheat phosphate organisms. carrot (leaf) potassium, magnesium• Large livestock :- on wet soil, the feet of large livestock comfrey nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, iron such as cows and buffaloes also compress the soil and damage soil structure. legumes nitrogen marigold phosphate Nutrient management for plant growth nitrogen, potassium, iron, sulphur, copper nettle Symptoms of lack of certain nutrients amaranth nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, manganese Symptoms seen on mature leaves lack of The main thing to consider in soil conservation Leaves yellow, starting from tips nitrogen and improvement :- Leaves die from the edges potassium We need to understand what benefits the soil as well as Leaves yellow between the veins magnesium what that damages the soil, and plan our work according to this. Grey/white spots on fruit and grain manganese There are 3 main strategies :- Leaves and stems turn red colour phosphate 1. We need to feed the soil micro-organisms, and allow a Symptoms seen on young leaves lack of good habitat for them to live and work in. Yellow spots on leaves & veins yellow sulphur 2. The soil should not be bare. We need to keep it covered as Yellow spots on leaves & veins green iron much as possible. Especially, take care to cover and protect the soil when there is strong sun, rain and wind. Grey spots on seed, pods and fruit manganese 3. Stop water from running off down a slope for any distance - Newest leaves die back or have white tips copper it runs faster, and carries off much soil and nutrients with it.10 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 11
  21. 21. Methods of soil conservation and improvement ? how to conserve1. For the micro-organisms :- mulching, good compost, liquid manure, green manures, agroforestry, afforestation. Lets See and improve the soil2. To cover the soil :- mulching, green manures (when land is fallow), agroforestry, afforestation, etc. 1 Bare land becomes3. To stop water running off :- mulching, green manures, agroforestry, afforestation, use A-frame to make contour dried out and ditches, terrace maintenance. wounds start to appear on the Earths skin. Compost Mulching These wounds 2 can be healed by Read about how protecting the these methods A-Frame land and planting Green improve the soil extra trees. manures in each chapter 3 Liquid Double Agro- manure digging In 1989, this land forestry was bare - 13 years later it is aIn this chapter, up till now we have read about soil, rich, fertile and what it needs and how we can increase its fertility. diverse orchard.Now, we look more at regeneration of damaged soil.12 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 13
  22. 22. 7 Here seedlings 4 have been planted 8 and the site protected 5 Napier grass planted Bare and unproductive land on the river edge.... 9 6 After 1 year the Napier is big ....when enough to cut protected, can 5 for fodder produce many of a farmers 10 needs. 10 Outside the wall the Ipomea (Morning land is degraded, Glory) planted on while inside has the river bank to grown green prevent erosion14 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and wf/ kl:tsf g+= # – df6f]sf] ;+/If0f / ; Improvement 15
  23. 23. Repair of Damaged Land 11 A high altitude Up until now in this chapter, information has been given Resource to assist in good soil management. If there is good soil on the Centre farm farm, it is not difficult to maintain and increase soil quality. being started in Where soil has become degraded, the difficult work is to 1990 in improve it again. But this is very important work - no community can claim it is poor as long as it has degraded Jajarkot, Nepal land in its region , because they can improve productivity simply by repairing this land. The canal, made All the things discussed above will help in the repair of 12 damaged soil. But before putting much work into land using an A- regeneration, we should first understand how nature does the job. frame, allows the water to infiltrate the soil This is a poor This means bare village. No land improves forest, no soil, no very quickly (this wealth. picture in 1993) 13 But the ability Maize stalks are to improve the used to strengthen land is in the the terrace and communitys stop soil erosion hands. Nature also wants to improve itself.16 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 17
  24. 24. Soil Improvement and Succession The seeds of many pioneer plants are already in the soil. Improving the soil doesnt take so much work. Its often Many types of fruit, such as Ficus, mulberry, etc. are eaten byenough just to prevent it degrading. Left alone, soil will birds and spread on the land through their manure.gradually improve itself, in a process called succession. For We can speed up this process by providing perches overexample, when any bare land is protected, special ground a bare area for birds to sit on. Bury tall posts on a contourcover plants called pioneers will start to grow first. They will line, and tie string between them. Under the string wherestart the soil improvement process. Then, larger shrubs and birds sit, the seed they carry will germinate.trees will start to grow. Eventually, a mature forest will On bare land, its much easier to work with nature. Withdevelop, and the soil will get a new life. a few years protection, nature So the first need for improving the soil is protection. The will plant the best specieseasiest type of protection is a "community fence" - the to improve the decides to protect an area of land, and prevent Then people can plantlivestock going into it. After that, stone walls, thorny brush, etc. the larger species theycan be used to make a fence. Most difficult is the individual need, such as walnut, oak,protection of trees, by surrounding them with thorny branches. etc., and they will survive, and grow much better. Communally protected land This improvement doesnt cost much and the land will grows through succession improve sustainably. The right plants will grow according to site and climate. Making a plantation on a bare site is very expensive, and more trees will fail. Its much cheaper and more effective to use succession for soil improvement. Land improvement - who benefits? A walled area The aim of improving community land is to prevent erosion, and produce more fodder, firewood, etc. But we must consider who benefits from this work. There are many examples where resource-poor people gain less than they should. So we must make sure from early on Each tree is protected that benefits from land improvement are shared equally by thorny branches amongst the community.18 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 19
  25. 25. 1 Succession on bare land When land is bare, there are no benefits except a few handfuls of grass for livestock. In fact, the soil will be 4 degrading in the opposite direction. At first its most important to protect the site. Within 3-4 years By allowing natural plants to grow the small trees will soil will improve by itself. start to grow on the land. 2 The soil will have improved When an well by this time. Now we area is protected can start planting large types of from grazing, within 1- tree. In between, smaller, shade loving species such 2 years grasses and small as coffee, pineapple, cardamon, medicinal herbs, etc. can shrubs will start to grow. These be planted. cover the soil, conserve moisture, and start to improve the soil. Livestock must be fed at home. Grasses which grow on the protected site can be used as fodder for them. 3 After 5 another 1-2 years Eventually, both other seed will be nature and the brought to the land by the community can provide wind or by birds, and start to for more of their needs. grow. As well as providing fodder, Nature is protected, and these shrubs and trees can also provide small human benefits also increase. When firewood. nature and the community work together, such benefits are sustainable.20 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 21
  26. 26. It is important to prevent water from running off a bare One piece of land improvement slope. This can be done by using an A-frame to mark out contour ditches, or swales. This is described in the A-Frame chapter. Lets see how the A-frame can be used. A stone wall protects the land where seedlings have been planted Some trees will grow easily from cuttings when The A-frame is used to mark horizontal lines. planted at the right These make swales for soil improvement. time. These are Ficus cuttings. Swales made with the A-frame hold water, soil and After just 2 nutrients on the years, the land. These can be area is green used by growing and plants, instead of productive being washed away.22 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 23
  27. 27. The distance between swales Planting of fodderdepends on the steepness of 1 species willthe slope. The steeper the increase compostslope, the closer together the production....swales should be. In diagram1 the slope is steeper, and the 2swales are dug deeper andmore narrow. In diagram 2the slope is less steep, swales ....or the trees can beare less deep, and wider. In 3 cut and leaves putdiagram 3 the soil dug from directly on the landthe swale is put above rather (mulching).than below the ditch. This canbe used to make terraces forcultivation as the soil accumulates above the ditch. Soil will collect above trees planted like this, and slowly level land will be Instead of digging formed for easier farming. swales, rocks or branches can be laid out on the contour lines marked by the A-frame to prevent soil erosion. Small shrubs can also be By stopping soil planted. Their roots erosion in this way, will bind the soil and hill farmers can can wont fall over and make their own land cause more erosion, more fertile and as big trees may do. productive.24 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 25
  28. 28. Ways to increase soil fertility Farmers Mr Surya Prasad • livestock compost Experience Adhikari • compost made of sweepings from the house and yard • legumes to fix nitrogen • earthworms From Nepal, Kaski district, • silt from ponds, streams, etc. Lekhnath - 10, Begnas vil- • silt and dust collected from the run-off of the first rains lage, Mr Surya Prasad Adhikari has worked to • deep-rooting trees to cycle fertility improve the soil on his own • mulch using leaf litter to cover the soil farm. Now lets read about • dead insects, birds, etc his experiences. • soil and leaves blown in by the wind • human excrement I started my mixed orchard in 1988. My aim was • laying turf to work with nature to improve • green manures the soil and make it more • rotation cropping productive. The area is 1.5 • keeping land fallow acres, and it was completely • no-tillage, to allow natural soil fertility bare and degraded, with hardly any grass. First I planted Surya Prasad Adhikari seedlings and mulched all the If farmers can use as many of these various local land with leaves and compost. In the second year I sowedresources as possible to increase fertility, they can help to legumes and planted bananas. I cut the bananas and usedprotect and improve the soil themselves. In this way they can them for mulch. Then I planted oranges, pineapple, fodderincrease production locally and make the homestead strong trees, broom grass, and so on. In total there are 55 species Iveand productive. planted. Its all protected from livestock. The annual production has increased each year, and I even sell seedlings The soil is our life. which grow there. There are 800 fruiting coffee seedlings, ç Protect it and be happy !!! ç and I sell oranges and pineapple too. I produce all the fodder and firewood needed at home as well.26 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 3 - Soil Conservation and Improvement 27
  29. 29. 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Dig twice as deep to get 4 x the vegetable production 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Double Digging chapter 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Good forest management is essential for the soil 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Forest Management chapter 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Make not just a fence, but a productive part of the farm 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Living Fence chapter 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Make great compost from domestic waste resources 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Sweepings Pit chapter 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 A method of increasing soil fertility and crop production 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Green Manures chapter 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Mulching protects and improves the soil 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Mulching chapter 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Make good compost for the soil faster and easier 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Compost chapter 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 An easy method of saving soil and water on sloping land 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 A-frame chapter 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 A 210987654321 210987654321 without affecting yields of field crops 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Plant more trees on farmland to increase production 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 Agroforestry chapter 210987654321 210987654321 210987654321 and Improvement Subjects Related to Soil ConservationGrihasthi Communications Read On !
  30. 30. how to make 1 2 3 Lets See an A-Frame 1 Lay the sticks out in the shape of the English letter "A" These pictures show how the A-Frame is put together. More details are given along with the colour photos. 2 The A-Frame is constructed by joining the legs, levelstick and string as in drawings 1, 2 and 3 above. It is NOTessential that the long sticks which make the legs of the A-frame are exactly the same length, nor that the middle stick isexactly horizontal. It doesnt matter if lengths are different, orif the sticks are not exactly straight. As in the drawing below,some A-frames can be more uneven, but they all do the samework. 4 The most important part of the A-frame, so it can mark out contours accurately, is the relationship between the 3 string and the horizontal stick. The way that this is done is shown in detail in colour photos 7 to 14 To join the pieces Now the A-Frame is ready to use use nails or string4 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 4 - A-Frame 5
  31. 31. What is aThe Farmers Handbook - "Forest, Soil and other Topics", Chapter 5 - Community Fund Community Fund ? A Community Fund can be started by village men and women agreeing to make a group, and collecting money from all the members of the group according to their capac- ity. When the group has an objective of making loans and charging inter- est as needed from this fund, this is usually called a savings and loans group. These Controlling your own finance groups can be made up of men and women, some are made up of women only. The members of the group discuss and decide on when to meet and how much money to collect. Usually they meet once a month, on the first Saturday, or any other day they decide on. Every- one agrees to pay an equal amount, which can increase over time. Members can then take a loan according to their needs. A rate of interest is payable on the loan, which increases the fund. This has proved to be very successful in allowing com- munities to control and improve their own local economy.
  32. 32. make a to make a Why Community Fund ? How Community Fund ? In this chapter, first well look at selecting the group and• protection from the high interest rates of merchants how it manages itself. Then well look at examples of simple• to have access to funds at times of emergency ways of keeping and managing accounts. Finally, well briefly• to be able to pay for family committments, such as wed- look at some good ways of investing the fund, and see case dings, school fees, funerals, etc. studies of successful womens groups and their funds.• to be able to take loans easily whenever needed• so that marginal families with minimum incomes can get Where does savings money come from ? access to credit and cash • from a certain percentage of income taken at the start,• to make managing the households finances easier before any spending (produce, save, and then spend) • from increasing the fund by income-earning work • from giving up being lazy and improving work habits • reducing unnecessary expenses • reducing consumption of damaging items such as alcohol and cigarettes • from community or social work, such as festivals, cultural programmes, bulk buying and marketing, etc. Materials Needed to make a Community Fund "piggy bank" pens Discussing the business of the Community Fund money This Chapters Author : trusting Mrs Malati Lakoul friends World Education, accounts Kathmandu, Nepal books2 The Farmers Handbook, "Forest, Soil and Other Topics" Chapter 5 - Community Fund 3