CCRSPI Conference 2011             SoilsRestoring Soil Carbon and Landscape Function     will Require us to Change Ourselv...
Looming Clashes• Increasing fuel costs and scarcity• Increasing input costs• Dwindling biodiversity• Rising human populati...
High Intensity Agriculture is Heavily Dependent on Fossil Fuel Energy Imports
Capital in the LandscapeComplex Communities Require 33% of Absorbed Solar Energy to Maintain      Structure and Diversity
The Simplified Agricultural Landscape Requires AnnualInputs of Purchased High Energy Products to Keep it in this          ...
Humans have been Spectacularly Successful at Diverting the Product of Photosynthesis -this               has brought many ...
Dry Season 1982-83My Decisions Caused This
Landscape Losing CarbonPlanned Grazing in Foreground          3-1-2008
23 mm storm13 -2-2008
Holistic Management and Planned GrazingMaking decisions that are Socially, Economically and Environmentally sound
Getting Control of Time is Fundamental to good Grazing Management
Plant CommunitiesLike this Make Soila Carbon Sink
Soil with high SOC and 100% cover of living       plants and litter, have high LFA• Higher infiltration rates, lower run-o...
14 . 1 . 201146 days recovery                   158 days recovery
8 . 2. 201171 days recovery                 25 days recovery
Community Dynamics49 plant species, 15 of them natives           February 2008
Fungi can pull Phosphorus out of the soil bank and communicate it direct to plants              They are an important agen...
Plants still Photosynthesising December 2008                                               Annual Communities stop Growing...
Tree Cover has increased from 3% to 20%Nine years of low rainfall, but no loss of soil coverNo feeding of livestock at all
Soil carbon in a 7cm soil test, comparing the effects of planned grazing disturbance for ten yearsand no disturbance for 1...
Regenerative Farming      The traditional approachPlanned grazing           Set stockingPasture cropping          Traditio...
Observations• We want to change everything, but not change ourselves•The unspoken assumption behind every proposed solutio...
We all need to learn to love our landscapes
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Restoring soil carbon and landscape function will require us to change ourselves - David Marsh

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Restoring soil carbon and landscape function will require us to change ourselves - David Marsh

  1. 1. CCRSPI Conference 2011 SoilsRestoring Soil Carbon and Landscape Function will Require us to Change Ourselves David Marsh, Boorowa. NSW dmarsh1@bigpond.net.au
  2. 2. Looming Clashes• Increasing fuel costs and scarcity• Increasing input costs• Dwindling biodiversity• Rising human populations•Water issues• A more variable climate
  3. 3. High Intensity Agriculture is Heavily Dependent on Fossil Fuel Energy Imports
  4. 4. Capital in the LandscapeComplex Communities Require 33% of Absorbed Solar Energy to Maintain Structure and Diversity
  5. 5. The Simplified Agricultural Landscape Requires AnnualInputs of Purchased High Energy Products to Keep it in this Disturbed Early- Successional State
  6. 6. Humans have been Spectacularly Successful at Diverting the Product of Photosynthesis -this has brought many Benefits, but also has Consequences
  7. 7. Dry Season 1982-83My Decisions Caused This
  8. 8. Landscape Losing CarbonPlanned Grazing in Foreground 3-1-2008
  9. 9. 23 mm storm13 -2-2008
  10. 10. Holistic Management and Planned GrazingMaking decisions that are Socially, Economically and Environmentally sound
  11. 11. Getting Control of Time is Fundamental to good Grazing Management
  12. 12. Plant CommunitiesLike this Make Soila Carbon Sink
  13. 13. Soil with high SOC and 100% cover of living plants and litter, have high LFA• Higher infiltration rates, lower run-off• Larger mass and diversity of biota•Not susceptible to wind erosion•Lower surface evaporation•Warmer in Winter, cooler in Summer•Higher water holding capacity•Becoming dominated by diverse perennials• Stable productivity, resilient•Higher effective rainfall
  14. 14. 14 . 1 . 201146 days recovery 158 days recovery
  15. 15. 8 . 2. 201171 days recovery 25 days recovery
  16. 16. Community Dynamics49 plant species, 15 of them natives February 2008
  17. 17. Fungi can pull Phosphorus out of the soil bank and communicate it direct to plants They are an important agent in recycling plant material
  18. 18. Plants still Photosynthesising December 2008 Annual Communities stop Growing in Summer
  19. 19. Tree Cover has increased from 3% to 20%Nine years of low rainfall, but no loss of soil coverNo feeding of livestock at all
  20. 20. Soil carbon in a 7cm soil test, comparing the effects of planned grazing disturbance for ten yearsand no disturbance for 14 years in revegetation Vegetation type pH soil/water %Total Nitrogen % Organic Available Carbon Phosphorus 7 cm sample Colwell Grazed Pasture 5.4 0.34 3.22 55.1 At BD 1.2 this is 27t OC/ha CO2e =100t Grazed Pasture 5.9 0.24 2.76 26 At BD 1.2 this is 23.18 t OC/ha 85.7 t CO2e Ungrazed 5.3 0.17 1.86 13.8 Revegetation At BD 1.3 this is16.9 t OC/ha CO2e=62t Ungrazed 5.9 0.13 1.97 11.3 Revegetation At BD 1.3 this is 17.9 t OC /ha 66 t CO2e
  21. 21. Regenerative Farming The traditional approachPlanned grazing Set stockingPasture cropping Traditional fertilizingNo inorganic fertilizer Traditional croppingon pasture, some withcrop82.9% Native perennials 88.1% Exotic annualsHigh fungi and bacteria
  22. 22. Observations• We want to change everything, but not change ourselves•The unspoken assumption behind every proposed solution to the dilemmas that facehumanity, is that when the proposed solution is applied we can go on living as we do;but how we live is really the problem• Relying on GM, modification of rumen function and a bit of other tampering at theedges - is far too simplistic• The natural world has adapted over the long lapse of ages to an ever changingclimate; this is where we should be seeking answers• Collaborating with innovative farmers early in the development of research programswould be an investment worth making•Putting serious effort into learning how to practice agriculture without the relianceon fossil energy subsidies is very important right now
  23. 23. We all need to learn to love our landscapes

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