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Regenerative Land Management
Regenerative Land Management
Christine Jones, PhD
Founder, Carbon For Life Inc.

The health of soils, catchments, rural communities, urban populations – and indeed, the future of the planet – is in the hands of farmers and graziers. Their understanding, innovation and implementation of regenerative land management practices will be fundamental to the well-being of all.

The nutritional status of soils, plants, animals and people has fallen dramatically in the last 50 years. We are all part of a food-chain that begins with the air. Grasses and crops provide the link between the atmosphere and the soil – and then between the soil and our food (meat and grain).

The energy required to fuel the soil engine comes from photosynthesis (capture of carbon dioxide) and is transferred into soil (as carbon compounds) by the roots of actively growing green plants. The rhizosphere (the area around the roots) is where the action happens. Plants determine who lives and who dies in the soil. When plants are absent, most soil life is absent too. Without life, new topsoil cannot be built and the topsoil that is already there rapidly deteriorates, losing structure and water-holding capacity. Unprotected soil is also highly vulnerable to wind and water erosion.

Amazing Carbon
Leaving it better than we found it.

Perennial groundcover is very closely linked to the water cycle – both as a cause and as an effect. When the amount of green leaf in a region is reduced, the rainfall declines. It would be impossible for this not to happen, because the loss of actively growing green plants takes water out of the landscape.

Loss of perennial groundcover also increases run-off (when it does rain) – and causes waterlogging in lower landscape positions. This alters the hydrological balance and exacerbates dryland salinity. The diaries of the first European settlers report there were extensive tracts of perennial grasslands across the Australian continent in the early to mid 1800s. The demise of this productive yearlong cover, with its ability to respond to rain at any time, can be linked to many of the ‘problems’ now facing agricultural enterprises.

When perennial groundcover is lost, the energy, carbon and water cycles are compromised. Further, if soils have low levels of biological activity, the mineral, trace element, vitamin and anti-oxidant content of plant material falls markedly. This reduces the ability of the immune system to function, both in the livestock grazing the plants and in the people consuming the farm produce.

During the Pastures for Profit workshops I will explain how we can better manage our grasslands and croplands to turn air into soil and soil into dollars – both in terms of the nutritional value and productivity of farm enterprises – and also in terms of Soil Restoration Credits (carbon credits) under the Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme (ASCAS).

It will be argued that improvements to agricultural and silva-pastoral practices offer highly effective methods for long-term greenhouse gas abatement.

Articles on ‘Building new topsoil’, ‘Grazing management for healthy soils’ and the ‘Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme’ (ASCAS) can be found on the Amazing Carbon website

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ECO SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY Ecology and Technology working together in synergy. SUSTAINABLE is 24 x 7. ECO SUSTAINABLE is when there's no waste. The waste product of one process is fuel for the next.
THE AGE of ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY - inspiration leads to innovation, and solutions provide engineers and architects methodologies to green the world. Man learns to live with the planet.