Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wastelands to Wonderlands - Part II

This photo was taken by Geologist Wayne Ranney of Flagstaff Arizona driving through the Rajasthani Desert on his way back from Jodhpur. He has a blog mostly dealing with Geology, though I'm ever so glad he took this shot as it has a number of important illustration and teaching feature visuals. By all means visit his incredible blog and that of another incredible Geologist who has a great ability to teach layman the complicated facts in easy to understand terminology. - Dr Jack Share.

So now back to reversing barren wastelands into productive wonderlands. My previous post (Part I)
 I addressed a few examples of barren wasteland situations around the Earth, many of which have had a human cause that desperately need turning around. Our planet's rainfall and climate mechanisms are dependent on our reversing the damage caused. This intro is found  here:

Turning Badlands & Wastelands into Productive Wonderlands - Part I
One of the foundations of any ecosystem is the hidden invisible universe so to speak that operates under the ground and I've already written about this in a piece about the Earth's Biological Soil Crusts. - see Footnote - To term these soil components as nothing more than primitive organisms is an insult to the biological mechanically running world. That would be like comparing a powerful brilliantly engineered expensive Rolls Royce engine to it's Cooling System Hose and insisting the Engine is far more important than the lowly hose. Yet that Rolls Royce  engine would be nothing without the Cooling System Hose. Take a quick view of this short Video which was recently recorded on the Bio-Crust Site called:

 Geodermatophilia - "Tiny forests in the Utah desert"
It gives a great illustration of how and why such microbiological organisms would be to a restoration site. This is clearly a new field to most folks, especially in the area of practical applications. But if you paid attention to that video, then you understood the importance of these bio-crusts to bind desert soils together which would be ideal between your tree plantings as in a Dune Project. Take a good healthy look at the Acacia Tree covered sand dune above. The only thing you truly see and observe is the picturesque treescape itself, yet no consideration to the biological networking activity going on underneath the ground. Even the SDSU Mesquite Dune Project had problems with the Dunes they created blowing away. Anyone who has ever been there at that wintery/spring time of year knows how fierce those western winds out of the mountains from the Pacific Ocean can be.

Jim Sears of Terraderm

There may be a problem solver in the way of commercially developed Soil Biological Crust spray applications from that company in Texas called TerraDerm. Sadly the company is now gone. The overall idea is to spread as many of the Bio-Crustal Spores over a wide area as possible to allow germination of the cyanobacteria to pioneer the way for algae, fungus, lichens to germinate creating a crustal surface which will hold the soil in place allow much larger succession of plants can get a foothold to take over the ecosystem creating a new forest. Well, here's a bit of an update. Terraderm is no longer in existence since 2012, but here is a Vimeo intro that still plays.

Illustration from Dawson's Lab

Imagine the tree on the animation is a Mesquite Tree in the Sonoran Desert  or Acacia Tree on the African Savanna. These are foundational trees which will drive and maintain an ecosystem to life. Remember also these mechanisms by which recent research has proven that such DEEP ROOTED trees have a higher ability to discharge electrical current and aerosols into the air aiding in cloud formation and eventual rainfall, but ONLY if they can connect to healthy subterranean aquifers and the electrical conductivity of Earth's deeper underground. 

As the Acacias, Mesquite, Paloverde, Ironwood trees, etc reach maturity, then the mechanisms of Hydraulic descent can ALSO kick in and take over sucking as much surface soil water as possible after rainfall and pumping it deep into the earth to later be utilized through Hydraulic lift and redistribution as needed. If there are times of heavy seasonal rainfalls, then such mechanisms may even restore a measure of Aquifir water table levels previously lost (Human Agricultural Activities), raising those levels to better serve the environment and even humankind if they are able to utilize such resources responsibly. This is the healthy process that should be your goal in any productive restoration project. 

This is the goal, to create a rugged tough surface from sand or other soft desert soils into a rugged pattern to slow down any rainfall event which comes along to better percolate water into deeper layers of the soil. Yes desert storms can be tough & intense, but this now present biocrustal soil ecosystem is a far better improvement over the previous barren destructive surface you are attempting to reverse.

Think in terms of a deep Engineering Project as opposed to a mere surface terrestrial  Gardening idea. In other words think long term future!Much of the desert plants around the world themselves are actually having a tough time with the climate change as well. Much of this of course is caused by various forms of deforestation being promoted throughout the Earth plus the rapid depletion of water in deep Aquifirs where what is called Fossil Water is being drain for irresponsible Agricultural irrigation practices and use for major world cities municipal needs. As these levels lower, even many of the deep rooted foundation trees will suffer, preventing the mechanisms of Hydraulics (lift - redistribution - descent) to fail completely hurting other plant life in their respective community. This also stops the cloud formation mechanisms (already referenced here) and more importantly normal rainfall patterns. Rebuilding this system again and restoring these networks and learning how to use these plant instincts for you instead of using them against themselves takes a total 360 turn around in the  thinking on the part of this world's leadership (Politicians, Big-Biz, Scientists, Average Joe/Jane etc). Given the past historical patterns of failed leadership of this world (and I could care less whose ideologically flavoured Political Party) , most likely this won't happen unless forced to as always. Sadly more often than not, it's usually to late. So this info is mostly for those who actually give a rat's backside and want to benefit from practical application through their own landscape, garden, farm, Guerrilla Habitat Restoration or conventional restoration, whatever!!!

Most of my focus has been on Mesquite Dune projects and specific desert environs where soils don't necessarily have a lot of obstacles such as bedrock or hard pan barriers. So most illustrations I've given are perfect in their ideal appeal to taproot development, but not all geology is the same. For example my mum's property has very deep sandy loam soil whose origins come off a rather large mountain over a period of 1000s of years into an alluvial fan. That's why her California Sycamores have done so well. I knew this ahead of time and trained these 1 gallon trees into the deeply rooted 30+ foot high 6 year old trees they are today. Knowing soil dynamics and structural makeup truly helps. Not everything considered to be deeply taprooting trees or shrubs will respond favourably the same way. But there are possibilities and other viable options. Recently info has come out though that illustrates that even in tough soils with taproot engineering goals, such obstacles as clay and bedrock can be over come by the plant. See:
Plant Root Spiraling Mechanisms: Ability to Bore Through Earth's Toughest Soil Structure

Source: Soil Types and Structures Module DEPI, Victoria

Sometimes depending on soil geology they may fail or simply take longer finding those open soil fractures to drive deeper. Take this illustration here to the left. It animates what is called Hard Pan which is a dense compact layer of soil which is almost like condense compacted concrete or rammed Earth for which water movement and even root penetration is almost ZERO. Water drainage is a big problem. The illustration shows where drilling or some other break through may be necessary to create a favourable change to this type of soil dynamics. This is exactly the kind of soil problems found around San Diego areas on the Mesas like Kearny Mesa, Miramar and Sierra Mesa where hard pan is common. These communities are basically all on the same table  lands and have almost identical sub-soil issues. It is some of these features which allow for Vernal Pool development in nature to work. We (the Property Management Co I worked for) had an apartment complex where we needed to make some underground plumbing system changes. The hard pan was just below the surface at about 5 foot deep with the hard pan itself being a foot to foot and a half thick. It literally is as tough as concrete and the porosity just as bad. We had to use Jack Hammer and to punch holes through and once opened up a backhoe took care of the rest. Soil below that is well draining. Prior to Human building of the area, native vegetation for the most part was never trees, just low Coastal Chaparral scrub.
Many deserts have this feature of an Alkali Hard Pan a meter or more under the soil, Texas has areas such as this. Australia and Africa are others. Good indications can often be seen by what plants naturally occur there. Don't look at it as a negative. Change your viewpoint and consider it an incredible challenge to make a difference. While there may be an element of mechanical fracturing and added expense, biological components for the most part will do the rest. When I lived up in the San Jacinto Mountains, many folks never considered their geology when purchasing their prized 180 degree view property. They often were given the sad news when applying for Septic Tank permits from Riverside County which demanded what is called a Perc-Test (rate at which water percolates into the soil). Several areas will be backhoed with trenching in the area you want your leach field. Water is then filled into the trenches and it's a waiting game to see how long it takes to saturate into the soil. Sometimes it never will, which indicates a problem for any future leach field. So if you have a nice permanent pond, you're in trouble. 

I know of one such property in the Spring Crest area of Santa Rosa Mountains above Palm Springs CA. The underlying ground material was hard granite bedrock. It didn't perc well. Negative Perc-Test, no House Building Permits. Solution often used there were to drill numerous deep narrow holes over a given area and load these holes with just explosive charge enough to fracture the granite bedrock underneath to allow water percolation. But hey, that may be an option for some Habitat improvement. Thereafter trees roots and proper microbiological material properly injected into the earth should take over from there. 
The above link has a great article on root structure couple with microbial interactions and climate change.

photo Pinal County Arizona
To restate, it was once believed that only those perfect sandy loam soils could facilitate rapid successful movement of deep taproots into deeper layers of soils. Of course this thinking could never explain why giant old growth forest trees are capable of existing without such a formidable anchor. Botanists simply did not believe the roots could drill their way through compacted clay hard pans, terrible rocky mineral soils devoid of much organic matter or even extremely hard granite or other bedrock material. But later research proves that plant roots can penetrate these types of soil structures. We even have some examples of Foothill Paloverde in Arizona which colonize tough rocky layers of Earth with little soil to speak of. Clearly further research and study of  such amazing drilling mechanisms and specialized abilities of such plants will be of benefit

Colorado Guy
How does Foothill Palo Verde or even Catclaw Acacia which are trees known for drilling deep taproots,  actually bore holes through solid rock as in this picture to the right here of Picacho Peak which is a famous often seen Arizona  landmark along side Interstate 10 ? This is generally the halfway point between Tucson and Casa Grande. The are other examples everywhere in the park of Arizona, but this is the easiest to point out.  Clearly anything is possible!

Plant Root Spiraling Mechanisms: Ability to Bore Through Earth's Toughest Soil Structure

image: Colorado Guy
Seriously, even here on the top of the Peak with  less than ideal soil. No Sandy alluvial flood plains here. What some plants are able to accomplish is amazing.
The roots of the Tillage Radish are able to bore through this hardpan layer and reach depths of 1.2 meters. This soil profile photo was taken exactly one year after the crop was planted, yet the roots are still serving as a conduit for water penetration as shown in the area outlined in white in the photo.  If a lowly radish can accomplish this, would would a hardy tough rugged desert tree like Mesquite, Ironwood, Palo Verde or Acacia to accomplish ?

Another beautiful illustration of the spiraling drilling mechanism of a taproot comes from a company which sells Tillage Radish seed to farmers as a cover crop which not only opens up deep layers of subsoils, but also acts as a cover crop to prevent weeds before planting corn next season. But lets focus on the spiraled twisting nature which is also found in the top growth of any plants. One has to wonder if a measure of water is injected into the ground by the Mesquite or Acacia tree taproots ahead of the root cap to facilitate  opening of tight soil particles. So Hydraulic descent may even start very early in the plants life rather than later. One can only imagine and speculate since in most desert ecosystems, rainfall is often less than 3 inches. Germination takes place, seed drives spiraling root shaft quickly into a foot or so of moist soil layers from present rainy season at best, then power drills through nothing but dry layers of Earth's subsoils thereafter before hitting the actual water table below. Once again science has discovered and illustrated the mechanism by which such amazing engineering feats in nature are possible. But do you have the insight to replicate such engineering into your landscape or Habitat Restoration blueprint ?
Plant Root Spiraling Mechanisms: Ability to Bore Through Earth's Toughest Soil Structure

Image - Tarleton State University

This study involving research on the water hydraulic lifting , redistribution and descent abilities of  the lowly High Desert Silver Sagebrush found in the state of Utah or Nevada. And never discount the ability of what looks to be nothing more than a dull mundane low growing shrub like the Silver Sagebrush above which has amazing Hydraulic Lift and redistribution abilities which actually support a healthy plant community, though you may not wish to view it that way. Okay let's shift some gears here- Tamarisks, I don't want to spend much time on this one as I have a post dealing with Tamarisk Trees. There are good and bad points on many living things, in this case not the plant, but the Human Idiocy Factor. There are incredible opportunities for more responsible construction of desert windbreaks utilizing local resources at very little cost. Here is the link:
Mesquite Dunes: Practical Solution to Tamarisk Removal & Replacement
Trees, and even more specifically forests, have been shown to be critical for regulating climate and creating cooler microclimates, for building soils and therefore the water retentive capacity of the land (acting like a giant sponge that releases water slowly), for reducing erosion and its resultant siltation of waterways, for reducing salination, for creating wildlife corridors, for acting as windbreaks, for supplying humanity with both timber and non-timber products, for cleansing water and for creating the air that we breathe. 
Start Getting A Clue. The Earth has very little time left !!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mesquite Dunes: Practical Solution to Tamarisk Removal & Replacement

Common Windbreak structure along Southern Pacific Railway Right-of-Way corridors through the Coachella Valley from Cabazon to Indio California. It should be noted that this exact windbreak in Coachella Valley requires massive amounts of irrigation water which is provided for by the Palm Springs Desert Water Agency. Seriously, go down to this windbreak and observe all the two to three inch water pipes spewing out huge volumes of fresh water which could be used elsewhere. Not many local people even know this is going on down there.
Athel Tamarisk  (Tamarix aphylla)
The Tamarisk that the Southern Pacific Railroad planted between Indio and Whitewater on the Sunset Route as a sand & windbreak (back in 1958) is Tamarix aphylla. Tamarix aphylla can also be seen planted around many of the older homesteads. One of the more invasive Tamarisks is Tamarix chinensis which is a water sucking tree with smaller size compared to the other. It's a common or familiar site for many. They easily cross breed so it's difficult to tell them apart.

Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum  - (see footnote)

Coachella Valley Mesquite Dunes 
One of the areas of badly needed practical application for me would be to replace all  introduced Tamarisk Windbreaks with components right there within the southwest where a keen eye could have more easily utilizing local resources. Once in the Coachella Valley there were prime examples of great Mesquite Dunes. One of the last being in the mouth of the La Quinta Cove to the back door of Simon Motors Car Dealership. On last look through Google Earth, everything has vanished under the heavy foot of development. No doubt many have forgotten and most younger generations have no clue to what such marvelous natural structures these really were. One has to ask, why didn't those early pioneers sit back, observe, use their brain and think about replicating such perfectly ecologically suited natural structures and incorporating these into their Agricultural blueprint ? We could have avoided the present ecological disaster we have now as this irresponsible introduction of Tamarisk has resulted. Below is an excellent News Vidoe documenting the wastefulness of water in maintaining these Non-Native Windbreaks along Coahchella Valley Freeway and Railroad corridors.

KESQ News Channel - Palm Springs: Thirsty trees suck desert dry

Sweden ??
First of all, let me not demonize Tamarisk. The trees just do what they do. In the right circumstance they are beautiful. Even for desert lovers from the Southwestern USA who are fond of their own beloved Mesquite tree should realize that even this tree is a invasive weed in countless places around our globe. The Tamarisk have an important function & role from where they come. But of course there are checks and balances in those regions from which they originate. I even recently photographed some local Tamarisk varieties folks here in Sweden love to plant. YES - SWEDEN! The flowers are beautiful and honey bees are a commom visitor. 

This is the common flower structure for which many people 
 will no doubt be familiar with. 
There was an interesting article last year in Discovery News magazine of October 2011 with the title, "Biblical Tree For Climate Salvation". It made reference to a scriptural text about Abraham who planted a Tamarisk in Beersheba. The Hebrew word for Tamarisk is 'eshel'. 
 Genesis 21:33 (NW) - "After that he planted a tamarisk tree at Be′er-she′ba and called there upon the name of Jehovah the indefinitely lasting God."
Dr Yosef Weitz walking among
Tamarisk Groves
Of course Bible critics have disputed whether it was truly a Tamarisk Tree he actually planted. There is no end to the amount of critics anywhere on any topic that rubs most people the wrong way. But in this case they were wrong. Yet here is a quote from Yosef Weitz Forestry Officer of the Jewish Nation Fund often referred to as "Father of the Trees" who spoke about Abraham's choice of tree planting for that region called Beersheba. This is from Reader's Digest 1954. 
“The first tree Abraham put in the soil of Beersheba was a tamarisk. Following his lead, four years ago we put out two million in the same area. Abraham was right. The tamarisk is one of the few trees we have found that thrives in the south where yearly rainfall is less than six inches.”
Salt Cedars growing in Israel's
Aravah Desert
Below here is the actual article for which Discovery News Magazine got it's info and read up on the amazing  possibilities of Tamarisk being used in it's native ranges like Asia, Middle East & North Africa to possibly soak up carbon and releasing oxygen. They could be grown on land once considered barren and useless and eventually used as a source of bio-fuels themselves. The research is headed by Professor Aram Eshel, for which I find his name fascinating as the Hebrew word for Tamarisk is indeed 'eshel'
" Growing Something out of Nothing"
Okay, now that we know that the Tamarisk isn't all that bad or evil if located and utilized properly, let's discuss possible Mesquite Dune windbreak engineering possibilities. Such a windbreak couldn't just be haphazardly put together and left to it's own devices so to speak. A windbreak in either an agricultural, railroad, or highway right-of-way setting needs a certain amount of uniformity and organization. Take a look at this earthen berm created for a railroad right-of-way in China. It's perfect and allows for an incredible foundation for establishing nitrogen fixing desert plants like Mesquite, Palo Verde, Acacia, Ironwood etc. At the same time using Bio-Crustal mixes if available from companies like Terra Derm Foundation

The newly built windbreak wall extends a total length of 8,230 meters.  A forty-meter section was built with state-of-the-art technology that had never been used for the Trains running between Zhenzhuquan and Hongshanqu  in China before. This section of the windbreak wall is expected to provide safety shelter for both the railway and the highway. Of course utilizing such a structure as a foundation for plant establishment would require the construction be done well away at a greater distance from the Railroad tracks.
Other areas around the globe like the Al Baydha Project in Saudi Arabia where money has been spent on major infrastructure of large Earthen Berms to protect agricultural fields not only from drying winds which suck the life out of crops through an accelerated evapotranspiration from that country's blazing sun in summers, but also prevent large animals from intruding and damaging crops. The structure and project comes via the Permaculture Research Institute based in Australia.

Permaculture Research Institute
Stringing Barbed Wire across the top of the berm to discourage animals such as Camels from entering fields

Permaculture Research Institute

Cost-wise this will be about 60% less than a chain-link  fence, but there are other advantages as well. The berm   will not only keep out animals, but it will provide a good   foundation for putting up a wind-break of trees. Wind is the   second main cause of evaporation in our climate, and   evaporation is the main cause of water loss. We’ll plant the   outside of the berm with cacti and shorter, spikey desert   plants to keep animals from climbing, and we’ll plant the   inside with long-term nitrogen-fixing trees. Once those   plants are established, we’ll have a good windbreak   surrounding the entire agricultural area of the site, lowering   evaporation and increasing water retention."
Another important point before I move on. I've previously written about Terracing along with Berms and windbreaks as a page refernce on the right hand side of the blog. (see footnote) There is a point of note here on desert terracing to impede and slow water down from it's usual torrential coursing. I saw this done on the Island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands of Spain. They have a critical situation for water there and slowing it down to percolate into the volcanic soils is a must. Preventing as much rainfall water as possible from entering dry washes and flowing back into the sea, or at least slowing it way down and allowing more soaking into the Earth. Same situation at the Al Baydha Project. Take a look and learn.

Permaculture Research Institute
This terracing is implemented to slow down water and silt and allow it to soak into the earth

Image - Geologist Wayne Ranney

Sand Dune stabilization utilizing Prosopis & Acacia Trees in the Rajastani Desert in India
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand and figure out what has successfully happened in the above sand dune stabilization photograph taken by geologist Wayne Ranney. Incredibly it would be argued that such an undertaking would cost to much money to remove Tamarisk Wind/Sand  Break barriers, yet the fact is they are costly. Most people still don't even realize the vast amounts of water necessary to keep those windscreens thick dense. Yes they thrive in harsh deserts, but they use far more water than southwestern natives which can be deeper rooted if properly encouraged to do so. Mesquite dune establishment would be far less than costly and would be able to maintain themselves without much care beyond occasional trimming. Actual materials for building the dune or berm foundations could come from an easy source.  In and around Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, not to mention almost the entire state of Arizona, there are numerous giant mining operations which have completely obliterated the landscape. Not only their giant open pits and mountain leveling, but massive stretches of rock and sand tailings which have plenty of material for building a vast collection of barriers for agricultural  area enhancement. These companies after extracting countless billion$$$ from their cheap government leased or gifted claims often times simply leaving the land in worse condition than they found it. Why not obligate them to take a small percentage of that gifted obscene profit and give back to the planet ?

Mesquite Gold Mine - east of Brawley CA
One of the largest gold mines in the country is the Mesquite Mine which is located in Imperial County in the southeastern corner of the state of California. It's just northeast of sand dune playground of Glamis CA on Highway 78. They extracted 158,000 ounces of gold last year in 2011. Anyone know what price of gold was back then in 2011 ? Presently 24K gold is $1,772.01 USD. Last year it peaked at almost $1,900 an ounce, usually being in the high $1,800s. But if we averaged and gave a conservative $1,600 an ounce, the profit from 2011 would be $252.8 million USD. (* see footnote) The company is New Gold Inc and the Mesquite Gold Mine is just ONE of it's mines. Does anyone think they could part with a couple of millions to haul already free dirt to local sites ? 
United States Gypsum Mine at Fish Creek 
Imperial Co
The US Gypsum Mining site has been around much much longer and could likewise be coaxed into providing what they would consider raw worthless leftover materials to just such a project. The problem of course would be politics and rubbing the noses of to many important somebodies the wrong way. Yet at some point mankind is going to have to be forced to reckon with having to give back to Nature what it has taken. Generally that usually only happens in this world when things are to late. Places like Saudi Arabia have no choice but to establish responsible land management. Of course they do have the unlimited funds to accomplish this, good for them. They also know that their oil may one soon trickle out and preparation needs to happen now. 

Tree of Life – Bahrain | Photo by: Faisal Ansari
World Famous tourist attraction called Tree of Life in desert island nation of Bahrain near Saudi Arabia. Very Kool Link to an interactive Video panorama view of this famous "Tree of Life" Mesquite tree
The above tree is a well known tourist attraction and exists out in the middle of nowhere in the moonscape desert of Bahrain. The tree is a variety of Mesquite Prosopis cineraria which just happens to be the state tree of Rajasthan, India and the provincial tree of  the Sindh province of Pakistan. This tree in Bahrain is the largest and most known specimen of the native Asian Mesquite.  This particular tree is over 400 years old and the surrounding desert is devoid of water and rainfall for the most part. It is almost 32 feet or 10 meters in height. Like many Mesquite & African Acacia trees the potential for rooting depth can be anywhere from 160 to 200 feet deep. Such knowledge of survivability should be a key as to land vegetation establishment goals and the ability of such constructs as a Mesquite Dune Wind/Sand Barrier a plus for Agricultural area usage. 

There have been many programs to eradicate the Tamarisk from it's invasive range, but it's clear that unless you educate Farmers and the Public in general, there will be no change as to this tree being utilized as a wind barrier or garden shade mechanism. There will always be a seed source available. Any attempt at Riparian habitat site restoration would be a total waste of time and continual ongoing maintenance nightmare. At least a new design of windbreak would not only reduce seed sources, but also enhance natural native habitat for local wildlife. As time goes on, less and less people are interested in volunteering for such activities. Construction could certainly provide jobs and improvement to this part of the natural world. To bad such similar programs such as those 1930s depression era Conservation Corps and others couldn't be revived and folks on Government Entitlement Welfare Programs offered a chance at working not only for their pay, but also taught a vocational trade and receiving a feeling of self worth again. I guess that is to much to hope for. We just don't have a world like that yet where some Rights Group wouldn't step in and complain about how humiliating such a reform would be. Who knows, maybe the 3rd World countries will have to lead the way. Below is a gallery of mostly desert environments for which natural windbreaks constructed utilizing native flora could and should be used. The exception below is an experiment in Sudan which has had the reverse opposite as Tamarisks in Southwestern USA. Although I relate mostly to Desert environs, folks worldwide should know their native flora and clues found in Nature as to how and what to biomimic when it comes to practical application.

Image - Khalil Khani
Prosopis (Mesquite) used for Windbreak

imad from Journal of Forest Products & Industries

Benefits of Mesquite Trees (Prosopis juliflora & Chiliensis)
brought into Sudan drylands by Botanist E. Massey (1917)

image - Ramón Suárez Ojeda

Beach Dunes in Gran Canaria

Image, Michael Flaherty
Mesquite Dune down in Death Valley

Reference Footnotes:
 Swales, Bioswales, Berms, Terracing, Windbreaks

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Turning Badlands & Wastelands into Productive Wonderlands

image by Arno Gourdol (Dec 22, 2008)
Borrego badlands from Font's Point

I'm sure this will come off controversial, but here it goes. I spent some time in the California Desert Park of Anza Borrego last year with my family. We passed through the Badlands area of the park and I viewed it with foresight of what the possible potential could be if such areas are revitalized and enhanced with native plants for a more productive and climate changing environment. By productive, I'm not talking about economic productivity as in housing, agriculture, resorts, etc. But improving the environment would translate into a positive if life is enhanced on Earth for all life be it wildlife or human life. Sometimes well meaning Eco Movements and actistsinvolved in those programs often forget the human element. For them humans are not exceptional and it's all about the nature. But Humans are important too. We are all connected globally and what people do now to the earth effects the entire planet whether you choose to believe that or not. There is a whole giant world outside of your small bubble of an Activism Universe.  But I'm also equally concerned about the numbers of countless native wildlife in various parts of the Earth who would benefit from such responsible human accomplished improvements. 

Dos Cabezas Spring with rich desert riparian habitat and wildlife in abundance. Here is an example of rich Desert Willow habitat and if I had used my brain last July, I would have also photographed some of the largest old growth Sugarbush Chaparral (Rhus ovata) that I have ever seen. The entire area of Sugarbush looked like large Scrub Oak woodland with ancient trunks & branches looking more like rugged bark of an oak than a mere lowly chaparral plant. Incredibly this area is often at temps of 100+ degrees Fahrenheit, and a plant community not often associated with desert environs. On an adjacent wash to the west, another chaparral species, Hollyleaf Cherry (Prunus iclicifoliawas found at the mouth of a Canyon Wash in the open desert of a Bajada or alluvial fan, proving that water was close to the surface here. Very large healthy looking shrub with zero signs of struggling to survive. Think people think !!!

We go out to explore, not destroy & tear up.
I know people like badlands areas for hiking, riding , off-roading and just general exploring. So they tend to want things to stay as they are. So do I believe it or not. I don't go out there to tear up the deserts with off-road vehicles. Rather, we stay on trails, stop and explore. But badlands areas are in no danger of disappearing anytime soon and evidence suggests that such areas are actually increasing worldwide and so there is no shortage of such these geological features disappearing especially in view of the present human caused processes we know as desertification. Here's the area of Badlands we visited and hike through at Anza Borrego State Park. Keep in mind I'm merely using this as an example of how an environment could be turned around to a more native vegetative system and offer wildlife more opportunities it otherwise wouldn't have. No one is suggesting we bulldoze Anza Borrego State Park, so don't get your knickers up in a twist. So to speak of course - *smile*

This is one of the Badlands viewpoint overlooks at Anza Borrego State Park. While there are some plants, it mostly is devoid of much vegetation at all. For many readers here around the world reading this, you will recognize such features in your countries. The badly eroded examples are everywhere and unfortunately with climate change, they are no doubt on the increase. While I personally love the natural geological features, there nevertheless has to be a limit the further creation of such regions through human stupidity, often accelerated through the misuse and abuse of science and technological advances. 

Photograph - Desert USA

Carrizo Badlands Overlook, Anza Borrego

The above photo is the Carrizo Badlands Overlook facing east towards Imperial Valley where we next traveled down through that wash which is called Vallecito Creek. Oddly enough, the literature on this are says that the debris which makes up this are came from out of the Grand Canyon. Almost hard to believe until you look closer and appreciate that the geology trly is nothing like the granite structure of the mountains to the west behind this photographer. Of course it looks more like a dry wash than a creek, but don't let that fool you. There is quite a bit of water under these less than desirable looking garden soil geology as the 5 Palms Oasis attest to. Clearly these California Fan Palms (Washingtonia filifera) wouldn't exist here if water wasn't near the surface. This fan palm has no tap root like those of other desert plants like Mesquite or Paloverde. It's roots are much like that of common grasses for which there is a fibrous root system. You'd be surprised how many areas are like this, but without vegetation. 

These slot canyons end up providing habitat for native plants like Ironwood, Dune Mesquite, and Catsclaw Acacia. Believe it or not they can tap into a hydrological system and survive very well. Again, this soil which is sediment and debris origin materials can be unstable and there were several landslides. If planned properly, such geology could become more stable with the establishment of native Desert trees. In the upper photo with the Badlands overlook just above the Cactus there the gap in the crotch of the hills there where the dry wash runs ? Don't let the dryness of the wash or surrounding hills fool you though. This seemingly dry wash is Vallecito Creek for which we next went down through the wash headed east towards the direction of the Salton Sea and an important part of the San Felipe Creek watershed. We explored some of the many slot canyons which themselves can be dangerous for cave ins as we did see while hiking along some of the washes like the example above. Under these soils are great quantities of water. While it looks and is very dry on the surface, it has a wealth of water as evidence by the numerous California Fan Palm Groves dotted throughout this region. 

Image - CBS8 News
This picture above is on one of numerous mud caves in the Badlands region. Their has been tragic loss of life here such as that of weekend recreation mud cave explorer Guillermo Pino. There is a wealth of water under these regions, though it may not appear so from the surface. To give you an idea of the exact area, here is a map of the location. We are at the Carrizo Badlands Overlook in the photo at the top of this page.
Desert USA - Carrizo Badlands Mudcaves
Courtesy map Desert USA
View of Carrizo Badlands
Okay, now we have a true picture of geological features called badlands. Those are those created by past catastrophic events which completely changed climate as is evidenced by the rearranged geology and there are many of the countless examples of human irresponsibly in caring for the land by either ignorant actions of all cultures (not just European ancestors who take a lot of blame by popular modern day Activist Leaders)  but ALL cultures of humans who've ever come and gone and left their imperfect Human fingerprint stain on Earth. 

I've learned a lot about natural history from reading historical accounts of early pioneers and explorers and in particular the mention by them of the physical geographical characteristics of the land they viewed, travel and located at and the comparison of those locations to the present day sad reality which quite often does not reflect what was written. In particular the physical descriptions of trees and other plant life, though at the time these folks didn't realize how important such observations would later be as a means of education for habitat restoration. They're not alone since most researchers never consider to look back at these writings for clues.

Let's take an easy example of older maps. They are different than newer ones as they omit many of the older traditional names/places of geographic locations which were important to folks who originally discovered them and made mention of them. * (see footnote) 

Anyone ever see these symbols above here on any map ? If you have did you ever think to explore it ? Did you ever wonder about it ? Did you even give it a second thought, even if it lacked a name, which many did, but not all ? Older Thomas Bros maps for example carried them and even went out of their way to list the ones by symbol without a name. Such landmarks were of importance back in the early days as they were important reference points and landmarks for travelers. Such knowledge could even save a persons life back the. I mean there were not exactly any road signs reading - "Next Services 100 years from now". *smile* 

When I lived up in Anza CA on Table Mountain, the old Thomas Bros map indicate there was an older un-named spring behind my property up a dry wash in a canyon southeast of my property. I was curious and took a walk one day to look for it. Sure enough I found the old Spring which was apparently known to some early cattle rancher way back when, who build a concrete trough structure (like the one to the right) to collect water from the spring to water his cattle which were let loose out on the range running wild. To be honest, most of these Springs I found were mainly seeps (as opposed to a true artesian spring) where pipes were insert into a hole excavated and filled with gravel and the pipe concentrated the water within the trough.

University of Utah

Desert Holly, Mahonia fremontii

The trough was dry, though the surrounding area was damp with moisture. One plant that grew around there around the damp spring was a variety of Desert Mahonia which had it's characteristic grey-green foliage. But what went through my mind was where did all the water go ? Surely it was once a running spring which did the job of watering Cattle. I also remember talking to older ones within the mountain area and Hemet-San Jacinto Valley who told me of exploring such springs as a young person, but that many of these springs no longer existed. Then I remembered something I had read about Viktor Schauberger (1885 - 1958) Austrian Forester & Physicist who wrote about the phenomena of upwards movement of water facilitated by deep cover of pristine old growth forest or other vegetation cover which protected the spring from Sunlight. He believed Sunlight to be detrimental to a spring's health. He wrote of an occasion where a spring was encountered in an open meadow and was enclosed within the masonry cobblestone walls of a cistern with roof cover. Later this cover was removed and the stone walls take away and the Spring dried up. When they later rebuilt the cobblestone lined cistern and roof, the spring water returned to the surface and flowed out into a trough. 

I've already written about the ability of vegetation to preform a physical phenomena of Hydraulic Lift & redistribution and that of Hydraulic Descent. ** (see footnotes below) So considering this I went in search for clues of what may have once existed there in the way of plant community habitat. Sure enough I did not have to go to far. Dry washes on both sides of this canyon which were for the most part themselves dry and rocky held clues in the way of dead tree stumps of Coulter and Jeffrey Pine which actually still exist around there, just not in this part of the canyon which forms some of the headwaters source of Hamilton Creek. Many dead and rotted logs laying around on the mountainside, some still sticking up out of the Earth and frozen in time by some past fire charring event. So there was at one time deeper forest cover here and an indication of perhaps some wetter climate times as I found some Incense Cedar logs (not exactly known for being a rapid decomposing wood) around this area as well. 

When I first moved to this area in 1981, I was privileged to speak with descended members of the Ford, Cary, Bahrman and other pioneering homestead families. These people at that time were in their late 80s or early 90s. They had a wealth of knowledge about the natural world when they were younger, though I doubt they truly understood just how important. However a few key questions and well tuned memory jogging references brought back memories of what the landscape looked like at the turn of the century. I had known for some time that most people in those early days made their living at cattle ranching. And what do Cattle eat, they eat grasses. So trees would have been looked upon as a hindrance to the production of grasses which makes cattle grow and that is what every one of them confirmed to me. I asked the question about the  eastern and northern Anza Valley because on the old maps and even in some of the present names-places, the words like - "Old forest Road" or "Burnt Valley" makes one wonder about their origins of those words/terms/names.

Here's a link from an article from Pacific Standard Magazine on Chaparral NOT being the fault behind Mega-fires. You'll recognize references to the California Chaparral Institute and it's Director Richard Halsey. 
Drought, Not ‘Old Chaparral,’ Aiding Wildfires
There is really one important paragraph quote there that is relevant to my article here and it's this: 
"During the 19th century and half of the 20th, chaparral - found along the Pacific Coast and western edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain range from Oregon's Rouge River Valley to Baja California's San Pedro Martir - was considered a wasted landscape and worthless. Ranchers set it on fire to get rid of it and planted grass for livestock. As more and more people moved to the great scrublands, chaparral was branded an ugly fire hazard and wildfires demonized as a hellish occurrence." 
Sure enough ALL of those elderly folks said the almost exact word for word thing about the plant community which once existed and deliberately removed. Though the above article was about chaparral, these pioneers told me that huge old growth Oak Forests interspersed with pine trees were what hindered the grassland habitat and they cut the trees, used or sold what lumber they could, burned the slash and planted grasses to replaced what was considered at that time worthless. No doubt chaparral was intermingled with these trees and forests as it is all a part of the same plant community in one way or another.  They ultimate agreed that all of northern, eastern Anza Valley and Table Mountain along with Burnt Valley was heavily forested.  Wow, what a difference if any of you could see it today. Of course maybe the question also should be "What causes droughts ?"

So climate and weather eventually changed (which at first would have been localized) as any newer seedlings were eradicated manually or the countless animals moved up there did it themselves. Of course such ignorant irresponsible actions have taken control around our entire globe and anyone want to guess why we have major Macro-Climate Change ? I know, it's a hoax !!! Okay, take a look now at another recent finding this year 2012 and reported on from Australia and the important phenomena found from specifically DEEP ROOTED tree species and the interesting mechanical functions they perform within any forest ecology.  
Queensland University of Technology - Brisbane Australia - "Electricity From Trees"
Okay relevant quotes again:
"Plants have long been known as the lungs of the earth, but a new finding has found they may also play a role in electrifying the atmosphere."
"Scientists have long-suspected an association between trees and electricity but researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) think they may have finally discovered the link." 
Well My My My My My - So Earth's Vegetation (especially old growth deep rooted vegetation) really does have the ability to not only electrify the atmosphere, but influence things like cloud formation, rainfall and possibly recharging Earth's Electromagnetic Field as the United Nations Environmental website admitted, but was vague on.
"They found the positive and negative ion concentrations in the air were twice as high in heavily wooded areas than in open grassy areas, such as parks."
So let's see if we have this correct. Heavily Wooded areas (Old Growth Plant Communities of many types or kinds) will have higher concentrations of these ions and aerosols than in open lower vegetative areas and probably almost ZERO in moonscaped areas created by humans through ignorant mistaken error, selfishness and greed ? Hmmmm?  Now they also touch on Radon dangers from this phenomena, but seriously, this isn't even close to being as dangerous as all the Bad Science Rubbish that has been invented by humans for consumerism exploitation. This Scientists from Aussieland are pollution and other atmosphere researchers and I understand need to look at this, but clearly in their studies, they weren't originally looking for this. It was an amazing gem of an accident.
"Dr Jayaratne, who is also a member of QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), said that natural ions in the air were mainly created by ionisation due to two processes - radiation from the trace gas radon in air and cosmic radiation from space."
Radon is a by-product of the radioactive decay of radium which is present in minute quantities in rocks and is continually exhaled by the ground.
"Because radium is found in rocks and radon is soluble in water, ground water is particularly rich in radon," he said.
"Trees act as radon pumps, bringing the gas to the surface and releasing it to the atmosphere through transpiration - a process where water absorbed by the root system is evaporated into the atmosphere from leaves. This is especially prevalent for trees with deep root systems, such as eucalypts." 
How about that. deeper rooted trees have a higher impact on this phenomena than other plants within any given ecosystem. What this translates into is that for all the protesting of saving old growth forests for their beauty, wildlife, etc (which is fine), there is a more important impact that may be in the creation weather patterns, cloud formation and ultimate rainfall totals within a given area and ultimately taken all together globally probably effect climate change one way (negatively) or another (positively). Unfortunately the Climate Change people never focus on this factor. They appear more interested in putting attention on temperature rises, CO2 increases etc which are ONLY symptoms of a greater cause which is deforestation and other vegetation disruption on Earth. Yes wildlife are important, but even their lives are dependent on a dependable healthy hydrological cycle. So as not to be repeating what I have already written on this site and most likely has never been read thoroughly by most visitors here, please see footnote references below. *** Footnotes

On a separate issue, let's take the depletion of what is termed Fossil Water (Primary Water) found in deep aquifers that most vegetation with the exception of some deeper rooted foundational ecosystem Trees or Shrubs are unable to tap into. Many many deep underground aquifers are being depleted by irresponsible  agricultural usage. Perhaps some usage is for filling city needs in many places. What is it that conducts electricity better than any other element in the ground - answer "Water"is it not ? 

This was highlighted by researchers who just a couple years ago looking at the potential of Earth's Mantle interior for holding up to six times the amount of water than the total water from all oceans, seas, lakes and river systems combined on the surface of the earth. The key was finding conductivity and it was determined that water was not only the reason for this deep mantle conductivity, but also facilitates movement of the liquid mantle materials and molten properties of magma and so forth. The Earth has an iron core. This natural machine produces magnetism and other conductivity. This magnetism emerges from the Poles. Water re-works it's way gradually to the surface to be recycled all over again. Some of this water and minerals are taken up by deeply rooted trees and shrubs, redistributed even to other plants and as a whole emit negative ions and aerosols into the Earth's atmosphere which creates a moderating of Earth's various climate cycles as well as possibly recharging Earth's electromagnetic field. 

But again this comes piece meal from all various specialists in specific fields with very few putting the entire puzzle together. With the exception of this world's irresponsible militaries. See the footnotes. - Seriously see the footnotes, there are many who have known all this all along. Here's a further reading of  Dr Jayaratne's research in the actual paper's abstract. Very enlightening.
Jayaratne, Rohan, Ling, Xuan, & Morawska, Lidia (2011) The role of vegetation in enhancing radon concentration and ion production in the atmosphere. Environmental Science and Technology (including News and research notes), 45. (In Press)
The role of vegetation in enhancing radon concentration and ion production in the atmosphere.
Important Abstract:
"The role of ions in the production of atmospheric particles has gained wide interest due to their profound impact on climate. Away from anthropogenic sources, molecules are ionized by alpha radiation from radon exhaled from the ground and cosmic gamma radiation from space. These molecular ions quickly form into ‘cluster ions’, typically smaller than about 1.5 nm. Using our measurements and the published literature, we present evidence to show that cluster ion concentrations in forest areas are consistently higher than outside. Since alpha radiation cannot penetrate more than a few centimetres of soil, radon present deep in the ground cannot directly contribute to the measured cluster ion concentrations. We propose an additional mechanism whereby radon, which is water soluble, is brought up by trees and plants through the uptake of groundwater and released into the atmosphere by transpiration. We estimate that, in a forest comprising eucalyptus trees spaced 4m apart, approximately 28% of the radon in the air may be released by transpiration. Considering that 24% of the earth’s land area is still covered in forests; these findings have potentially important implications for atmospheric aerosol formation and climate."
Alberta Badlands
Okay back to Barren Wasteland conversion in any desert circumstance. This goes for places in Australia, Africa, Asia, North & South America and maybe as far as the poles, yes both poles. (Remember, when Earth was at it's peak vegetative state, the Poles as we know them today didn't exist) When you look at any landscape like the example above, such places do get rain periodically. The components for why such rain falls on these landscapes were created elsewhere. This is how rainfall works in most places that have deserts, though there are variables. Take the mighty Sahara where many places never get rain. For the most part we are talking about runoff with very little soaking in. At best maybe an inch or two of soaking in but mostly runoff to lower reaches. 

San Simon River Watershed
In Arizona history for example, I was reading Marshall Trimble's book "Roadside History of Arizona" (* see footnote) and I had read about the town of Bowie in the southwest portion of the state. His historical account of the San Simon River flowing through Bowie, explained how it was an area where trappers harvested Sonoran Beaver. However when I traveled through Bowie once and stopped there, that so-called river was nothing more than a dry wash. I didn't see any signs of water let alone potential for Beaver habitat. What I further discovered later is that the early Cattle Barons (and these people were greatly selfish greedy & stupid)  of the old west brought in 10s of 1000s of Cattle more than the land could handle and it was grazed to the soil. Rains came and washed the top soil away revealing the more sterile subsoils. (badlands geology). Such soil almost becomes fossilized at that point and even gentle rains can flash flood when they do come. So it appears that the land reclamation ultimate goal is to not necessarily stop raindrops when they fall to earth and make their way to the seas, but slow them way down before hand. Let every living thing get it's use of it before it is gone. This calls first for some mechanical intervention, whether by machinery or manually by hand. Artificially replicating what nature does in the wild.

Utah Geological Survey

One of the lesson we can take is from nature itself. A lot of desert badlands are massive areas of flood water sedimentation created by some historical catastrophic flood events and with possibly a great amount of uplift thereafter. Borrego Badlands are said to be Colorado River deposits. If you know anything about the Colorado river, it's almost a hundred miles away, so it can sound a bit far fetch without a massive extinct event in the equation. But in many areas of hydrological disasters there are patterns in the geology of something called lake terracing. Where waves lap the shoreline and create differing levels of terrace or steppes. Certainly this pattern could also be enhanced by utilizing the creation of berms or swales. ( See Footnote) Now take a look at the Topo Map below. This is not an actual place of importance, that is irrelevant. It's an illustrative example I'm merely using of an extreme approach to rearranging such a degraded site as a Badlands formation in any country to a restored plant community reclamation outcome. 

Pretend for a moment that this was once Badlands geography. You now mechanically created an organized structured pattern in the soil to slow down water and allow vegetation to get a foothold. Yes of course this is a lot of work and may appear extreme, but we live in extreme times. Humans have brought this planet to it's knees in more ways than one by their extreme irresponsible behavior. Don't expect Governments, Big Business (bad science) or any other powerful entity to take any of this serious. This is mainly for an individual or group that actually cares and desperately needs to turn things around quickly. Such terracing examples are found on the Canary Islands where rainfall is the only source of fresh water and slowed down movement becomes a vital strategy.

Far more however is needed than terracing with berms, swales and even rocks or logs as catchments in ravines strategically located as in the Australian Natural Sequence Farming (NSF) methods originated by land reclamation pioneer Peter Andrews. (See the Footnote) 
I've already started a Mesquite & other Pea Family Seed germination and container growing experiment here at home which also has it's own page on the left hand side of this site. ( See Footnote) My idea is to allow say a Mesquite, Acacia or Paloverde develop as it would in nature by the creation of the all important tap root system. Seriously, this is what the genetic instructions demand if the tree is going to survive and be productive in any harsh hot environment. Conventional Nursery containers like 1 gallon don't allow for this taproot construction, they hinder it. Such containers are fine for retail/wholesale Nurseries selling to public for urban landscape usage where people will continually baby the plant, but they don't work well in a remote habitat project situations. 

What I've come up with and I'll create another single page and post it over on the left side of this site, is a long tubular shaped sock around two inch diameter made of loosely woven Jute Burlap at any length desired to be grown inside of a plastic pipe twice the width and with air holes to allow ventilation and air pruning to force quick downwards growth. The length I've chosen for my experiment purposes is exactly 1 meter in length. Longer sizes could be used and I would recommend this for a few planting placements and I'll explain why later. The meter length is perfect for the illustration. This could be undertaken any time of year if a greenhouse is available. This would allow for fresh germination and out-planting at the right time. So how do I plant these ? I gave some illustration in my post on the UCSD Mesquite Dune Remote Planting Project. (See Footnote) I like some things they did and disagreed with other things that I thought could be improved upon. 

On special note here let me explain what I would consider the ideal Jute Sock system potting media, I'd probably use vermiculite or pearlite for aeration and I would also add these to the native soil from the site to be planted so as to introduce the seedling to the chemical signature of the soil it will be permanently planted in. Now as far as a mechanical means of actually drilling the hole, this could be manually done or machine operated, depending on the circumstance and physical make up of the terrain. Some things may be impossible for much deep deep drilling or hole boring. 

This should give an idea of the type of tool necessary for either hand or machine drilling. The longer the Nursery containerized system, the more degree of difficulty of drilling deeper holes to fit the Jute Sock into. Enough Jute material should be available at the top to pin the planting to the surface in the case of soil settling which would suck the plant down the hole when watering. This will be explained  later in the meter length container  experiment. This need not be complicated at all and this isn't necessarily something for urban landscape, but it could in some situations

I've already mentioned some things I liked with regards the irrigation system used on the remote planting site. I have used this same exact method back in the late 1970s early 1980s on the Rattlesnake Mountain project, some remnants of which should still be there. The idea is to get water deep into the earth's subsoil layers by several feet and train the plants to grow there as opposed to surface irrigation or even a drip system which creates lazy surface roots. Drip system is like keeping the project on lengthy year after year life support and that is not the idea in rapid project establishment with very little effort. Chaparral plants in the wild utilize deep subsurface moisture for summer maintenance and survival. Surface irrigation allows for succulent growth which brings on diseases so common in urban landscapes but normally absent in the wild. Even Professor Todd Dawson of Dawson's Lab discovered plants along streamside habitats did NOT access the majority of their hydrating from surface streamside waters but rather very deep subsoil layers. There clearly must be a reason for this and it should be replicated as closely as possible. Isotope studies proved the origin of those waters. 

The image to the left here is an example of how easily promoting of water can be into deeper subsoil layers of the earth where sun and wind cannot touch it. Only water loss will be through evapotranspiration from the plant itself. This beautiful illustration of being able to get water deep down below the Mesquite , Paloverde or Acacia Tree's taproot is imperative if long term survival is to take place. There needs to be a view of healthy ecosystem underground root & mycorrhizal infrastructures as a brilliant piece of engineering to be replicated in any restoration project. It's irrelevant at this point as to how such things occur or once occurred out in Nature in the first place. The fact is such systems have worked fine for countless thousands of years and no amount of artificial improvements will replace the original that has performed beautifully until humans stepped in.

Deep Pipe Irrigation Method Experiments - SDSU
Finally no project would be successful without an mycorrhizal inoculum program. These beneficial bacteria and fungi are necessary for plant establishment and survival. Even all the way down the hole's bottom to ensure complete hydration of the plants. You could use a strategy of proper placement of long 8 or ten foot Mesquite seedlings into much deeper hole drilling possibly even to water tables. Such plants would quickly develop hydraulic lifting and redistributing abilities much earlier than normal to nurse shallower rooted plants along. A map of trees from Voltree beautifully illustrate the strategy, although the never purposed it for this. I'm merely providing a visual here. 

Purely as an example of planting deeper trees, consider the trees marked in orange as carefully located deeper plants to benefit other meter deep planted trees around them. This is not exact or perfect, but clearly someone could come along and improve upon it. Merely look upon this graph or chart as a proposal. If some trees are able to tap deep enough into the water table, then their incorporating the hydraulic lift mechanism and redistributing water to all the other plants through the grid will be the ultimate goal. For the moment, this is mostly what I had to share. It is clear that researchers are finding out more and more about how brilliantly put together and complex our natural world really is. It's a giant living mechanism that takes care of us and makes life possible. Ignore the symptoms and eventually it will be too late to turn things around. Some areas already have a point of no return. Bad Science has created the problems our natural world faces. Most global Warming proponents focus purely on symptoms as opposed to roots causes. Not surprising since medical science does likewise. It seems if there is no profit to be obtain it's considered NOT a viable option. In keeping with the "Earth's Internet" theme, I'm hoping more and more of this is sinking in and making sense. Understand I've had 30 years to observe and explore things I've had suspicion of existing in real life. Much of my understanding and proving came from practical application to see if conclusions were true. Science today is merely backing some of my inferences over the years. Sadly though I wonder if anyone is paying attention.

For the idealists folks championing ecological causes, start getting a clue and educate yourself on the basic fundamentals. That will go much further and gain more respect than running with mere emotion. Nothing wrong with emotions, but in this case more substance is necessary if your personal favourite Activism is to be taken seriously!!!

Stay tuned for further pages & posts as I'll have a part two which is already in the Draft works. 

 Historical References:
by Will Croft Barnes
Will Croft Barnes (1858-1937) first came to Arizona as a cavalryman and went on to become a rancher, state legislator, and conservationist. From 1905 to 1935, his travels throughout the state, largely on horseback, enabled him to gather the anecdotes and geographical information that came to constitute Arizona Place Names. For this first toponymic encyclopedia of Arizona, Barnes compiled information from published histories, federal and state government documents, and reminiscences of "old timers, Indians, Mexicans, cowboys, sheep-herders, historians, any and everybody who had a story to tell as to the origin and meaning of Arizona names." The result is a book chock full of oddments, humor, and now-forgotten lore, which belongs on the night table as well as in the glove compartment. Barnes' original Arizona Place Names has become a book lover's favorite and is much in demand. The University of Arizona Press is pleased to reissue this classic of Arizoniana, which remains as useful and timeless as it was more than half a century ago.

Marshall Trimball (Arizona Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman visited Arizona in the summer of 1880. A promoter made the mistake of asking him what he thought of the place. Too damn hot and dry, Sherman declared. All she needs, the promoter said soothingly, is less heat, more water, and a few good citizens. Hunh, Sherman said. That s all hell needs. (From Roadside History of Arizona, The last of the lower forty-eight to gain statehood in 1912, Arizona now tops lists of the best places to live and visit. For the history behind that reversal, join Arizona s official state historian and beloved ranconteur Marshall Trimble on the state s highways and byways. Along the way meet Fathers Eusebio Kino and Francisco Garces, Non-Assessable Smith, Ned Beale and his camels, Nellie Bush and her steamboats, Great Western Sarah Bowman, and the Navajo code talkers. Find out why Why s called Why; where Arizona s Civil War battlefields are; what happens at the Zuni River Reservation, where no Zuni live; and the possible whereabouts of the Lost Six-Shooter Mine. From Fredonia to Naco, Oatman to Show Low, Ganado to the London Bridge, visitors, newcomers, and old-timers alike will delight in this classic of history and travel, originally published in 1986, now updated, expanded, and redesigned.
 Natural Hydrological Phenomena of Trees 
Roots: Hydraulic Lift & Redistribution
Roots: Ability to Hydrate Deep Soil with Hydraulic Descent
Climate References from this Site:
Earth's Internet: Electrical Conductivity of Trees
Earth's Vegatation Effects Global Cloud Formations
Trees Recharge Earth's Electromagnetic Field
Berms and Swales References:
Swales, Bioswales, Berms, Terracing, Windbreaks
 Slowing Down Water References:
 Mesquite Seed Germination Project:
Swedish Mesquite Seed Propagation Project
Mesquite Dune Planting Techniques:
Lessons From a Mesquite Dune Project