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Spain: tree extinction as a result of water imbalance

Sepp Holzer's book "Desert or Paradise", published in Ukraine ("Vidavnytsvo" Grain "), is not only a serious assistant in arranging lakes and ponds, balancing the ecosystem, the art of growing crops without fertilizers and chemical protection with the highest environmental characteristics. This is the key to understanding the laws of nature in its practical interpretation. There is no monoculture in nature, and if you plant corn on a hundred hectares, you create it contrary to the laws of nature. What will nature answer? Weeds and diseases.

Sepp Holzer is a thinker. He is well aware that the energy spent on growing crops in intensive technology (design and construction of equipment, breeding of hybrids, chemical plants for the production of plant protection products, diesel fuel, human resources, electricity) is incomparable with the energy that this crop can give.

It is not a fact that all efficient agricultural producers should immediately quit their businesses and start peaceful digging of beds with a shovel.


They can take from this book an understanding of the foundations of the structure of the universe. And find your way in it.

Indeed, given the current grain prices, many are already thinking that the cost of the grown grain does not justify the efforts expended. If we comprehend the totality of the efforts expended, the picture will be even sadder: we get a thousand dollars per hectare, spending tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars on this very hectare. Holzer's permaculture, we repeat, may not be suitable for everyone. But everyone will be interested in the many ingenious inventions of this most famous farmer in the world.

Inventions can be applied immediately. As soon as you buy the book from the editorial office of Zerno magazine.

On the Iberian Peninsula, where once, as the ancient Greek geographer Strabo wrote, “a squirrel could jump through the tops of trees from the Iberian Mountains to Gibraltar without touching the ground”, today the opposite situation is observed: you can go from the Basque Country to Andalusia, and not stepping into the shadow of a single tree.

From Sepp Holzer's book "Wustenbildung - Okozid", 1992

Several years ago I was invited to Spain. On one site in Extremadura, over a large area, oak trees perished, and the owner of the land was already close to selling the site. In Portugal, the same thing happened - there, cork oaks were especially affected in huge numbers. In both cases, it was not a question of natural, pristine afforestation. Several centuries ago, the Romans, and later the Spaniards and Portuguese, cut down these forests themselves in order to build ships for their fleets and make way for agricultural work carried out on a re-use basis. Now there are only remnants of the former forests, moreover, in poor condition, they need a special, reasonable approach. Simply protecting the remaining trees is too small, since they do not have enough strength to regenerate. Monoculture afforestation is also going nowhere; it would be just a symptom treatment that will do more harm than good.

Instead, research into the causes should be undertaken. And the reasons for the death of rocky oaks in vast territories in Spain can be described in two words: oaks are dying, since the adjacent soil is overexploited in all respects.

The last trees in the struggle for survival, the cause of their disease is the excessive use of resources

First because of the cultivation of grain crops: the areas under the oak trees were plowed up by cultivators and plows so that there could be grown crops and even more intensively use the land. At the same time, synthetic fertilizers were applied over large areas. If the hilly terrain is too intensively cultivated, if the soil is opened and remains without vegetation for several months, then abundant rainfall during the rainy period washes out nutrients and humus. The soil erodes, plant roots protrude above the surface and are affected by many negative factors. Then you can see how stones literally "grow" in the fields.

How is this possible? How can stones grow? I have been asked this question by many, including other invited fellow experts, and I was able to demonstrate this to them during my consulting trips to Extremadura and Andalusia. The more intensively the territory is cultivated, the more soil is demolished and washed away, the more stones can be seen lying on the surface of the fields. If these stones are carefully examined under a magnifying glass, then you can see that they are overgrown with moss and lichen, which form stripes from dark green to brown on the sides. Since moss grows only during the humid period of the year, you can see and understand with the naked eye what has happened here over the past 50-60 years using these stripes, without any laboratory. You can find out how much the process of soil erosion has accelerated, since from year to year the stripes are becoming wider, the latter are already 3 to 5 cm wide. Moss and lichen, covering the stones, do not keep up with the ongoing processes. Anyone who has eyes to read the Book of Nature recognizes the dramatic acceleration in soil erosion due to improper farming practices and overgrazing.

Soil erosion is caused by overgrazing

If the soil is degenerating at a fairly rapid pace, then the trees, the crown of which is at a higher level, experience increased stress, because the roots of these trees cannot escape. Root necks are exposed to sun exposure. They are then seriously damaged by plowing the soil. But it gets worse. When everything around becomes brown and dry and a fire hazardous situation arises, a person does not reconsider the expediency of his actions and does not return to traditional methods of tillage.

Soil erosion is caused by overgrazing

Now he begins to carry out the so-called preventive fire-fighting measures. To do this, they drive between the trees with a disc harrow and destroy the remaining vegetation, which, probably, could appear in places, and also deprive the forest of the potential for renewal due to the germination of seeds and root buds. Those few plants that did not have time to clean up the sheep and cows now also fall under the disc harrow's knife.

Now the earth is bare and wounded, it dries up, hardens and turns into dry dust. And then a man appears with a chainsaw and begins to cut down dried branches for firewood. Due to this, large wounds appear on the trees, which they do not have the strength to scar. And then a mushroom enters the scene.

Fungal spores are present everywhere in the air, and if a tree is wounded and weakened, it too is attacked by fungi. Once infected, the tissues of the tree become weakened and serve as food for all kinds of tree beetles. The latter lay eggs in the wounds of the tree, and their larvae pierce the entire tree, ultimately the holes become a finger in diameter. When the caterpillars pupate and a new generation of beetles is born, they immediately fly over to a neighboring tree, because it is also sick and offers new residents an area for settling. This leads to an extraordinary increase in the populations of tree beetles, because they have a huge number of diseased trees at their disposal. When a tree is fully perforated, ants find shelter in its holes and cavities wonderfully.

And now I wonder what other hardships and hardships a tree should endure?

So, the next factor in the use of natural resources in excess of the level of their natural recovery, in particular for such trees, is over-etching of vegetation. In Spain and Portugal, pasture farms were traditionally widespread, in most cases for grazing pigs, which, while digging through the soil, simultaneously loosened it and thereby maintained the necessary condition of the soil.

Destroyed landscapes and abandoned farms: the result of disturbed water balance (Spain)

But the EU incentive payment system and other profit-making considerations have led farmers to adopt intensive livestock farming methods. Today these are mostly sheep and goats, sometimes cattle. This leads to over-exploitation of the land and, accordingly, to natural plant breeding. After all, animals primarily eat those plants that they like. And if animals graze for too long in the same place or too many animals graze in a given area, then valuable herbs simply do not have a chance of survival and they die.

In addition, the most valuable plants - clover and other types of grasses - are very sensitive to trampling.

If they are constantly subjected to heavy trampling by horses and cows, they will also die. Different types of fescue or tough grasses carry this load more comfortably, although they are less valuable grasses.

Thus, as a result of overuse of land, natural selection of vegetation occurs: medicinal plants and plants with deep root systems are damaged, and less valuable plant species strengthen their positions. This is how the depletion of flora occurs. But only due to the presence of plants with different root systems on the site can the water-accumulating function of the soil be preserved, and only if the necessary level of moisture in the soil is present, the tree can be sufficiently supplied with nutrients.

Now imagine yourself as a rock oak. Put yourself in his place! There you are now. How does it feel to be a tree? Probably, your age is 400-500 years old, and in fact there are even 1000-year-old rock oaks. How did you manage to live to such years? Probably, life was good, otherwise you would not have reached such a venerable age. And when did the suffering and illness begin?

Even this information can be read by looking at the tree. By type of development, by lettuce, by lichens, by mosses. When did the top and side branches begin to dry? What led to the development of these processes?

And then it will become clear that the reason should be sought in previous generations - it was in the last 60-100 years that trees began to suffer, it was during these years that they were exposed to stress, since this period accounts for the overexploitation of resources. Everyone wanted to make more money by turning entire regions into granaries; the production of mineral fertilizers promised high profits.

Now I want to ask you, what is it like to be a tree? You stand on tiptoe, devoid of moisture, as the earth is constantly washed out from under your feet. The legs were ripped open and tattered by the disc harrow. There is no more protective vegetation on the ground, it is naked. Horizontal roots die off, only vertical ones survive, now they must deliver the entire volume of nutritious juices.

If too little juice comes from the lower level, but you want to live so much (after all, you are already 500 or 1000 years old, and you intend to survive even human stupidity), then you cry for help. How does a tree scream when it needs help? It sheds leaves and dries, starting from the top and outer contour of the crown. The outer branches die off because the tree does not then have to feed them. And in the zone of the near-trunk circle, the tree throws out new shoots. Internal shoots are a necessary measure. If the roots are under stress, then the crown is also under stress. And now there are also the so-called preventive measures for fire safety: chainsaws, wounds to the living, fungus and beetles.

Now imagine yourself as a tree again. You realize that this is the end, and you try to bloom again. Last time. You were forced to cover yourself with color, but at an inopportune time - this is what I often note before the death of a tree. These flowers are the flowers of disaster - the last chance. A large number of small fruits are set because you want to give birth for the last time. But this is useless, because the soil is completely bare and overdried, nothing can grow on it. There is no protective vegetation cover, and ripe seeds will not be able to germinate. And if they are suddenly lucky and it still rains, the sheep will appear and eat all the sprouts that still happened to see the light. And then it's all over.

The beginning of soil erosion in the pasture

All this can be seen, to recognize all the causes of disease, if you put yourself in the place of a tree, if you feel it, or rather, perceive it with all your senses. This is not difficult. But people do not do this: neither the responsible employees of the leshoz, nor representatives of the authorities, nor specialist consultants, nor experts in the treatment of green spaces.

What are they doing instead? I personally witnessed this, and more than once. They say: if so many trees are sick at the same time, then it is a virus. Thus, they came to the conclusion that the entire Iberian Peninsula is covered by a virus and, allegedly, because of this, cork and rock oaks are dying. The treatment of trees with antiviral drugs from airplanes has begun. And in those places where spraying from the air was impossible, they began to be grafted. To do this, small holes were drilled in the trees, pieces of rubber were inserted into them, and the oaks were vaccinated against this mysterious virus. Every single tree! Three times a year! Each vaccination cost the site owner three euros. In total, this is nine euros per tree. It can simply ruin the forest owner.

Formation of ravines in Ecuador

All I could do was grab my head. How could one have come to such idiocy at all! It was quite obvious to me: it is not trees that are sick with the virus, but a person. Why does it happen that a person cannot recognize the simplest things? He forgot how to put himself in the place of his counterpart. He forgot about the need to work in cooperation with Nature. He began to look at plants and animals more as goods that he can use, and does not notice that they are living things.

In the case of tree vaccinations, one must ask who benefited from this absurdity? The farmer does not benefit from this. This practice not only puts the farmer on the brink of bankruptcy, but also destroys countless hectares of priceless landscape. The industry that produces them, laboratories and the so-called specialists make money on vaccines. For those who take part in all this, I am ready to use any profanity.

Absolutely wrong decision: due to the concreting of slopes, the problems are only exacerbated

In Spain, I asked to uproot diseased trees and examined the rhizomes in the most thorough way. I came to completely different conclusions about the reasons for the death of trees and clearly demonstrated this to the so-called specialists: the roots are sick, and the crown is sick from this. And in particular, due to man-made soil erosion, overuse of resources, progressive land dehydration, insufficient vegetation cover and soil hardening. These are the reasons for the large-scale death of rock oaks and, as a consequence, the loss of the balance of water resources over a large area. Today, using the example of three projects in Spain and Portugal, I showed how you can stop the extinction of trees. First, you need to tidy up the balance of water resources through the construction of natural reservoirs for the accumulation of water and the creation of water landscapes. The valleys must be surrendered to the power of water. If this happens and the body of the earth can be saturated with moisture, then trees will grow wildly on the hills again, and not only rock oaks, but also other types of trees. To restore forest plantations, I involve pigs, these are the best employees who plow and fertilize the soil, which means they prepare it for young growth.

The estate of Princess Nora von Lichtenstein, whose lands were on the verge of desertification, today is a humid biotope where hundreds and even thousands of birds nest. The site gives a large harvest of vegetables and fruits, which will only increase in the coming years. Dying rock oaks could no longer be saved, but they fulfilled their maternal function in relation to young growing trees and shaded them from the sun until they became independent. Something similar is happening in Andalusia and in the Portuguese province of Alentejo. This is described in detail in the sections "The example of Spain and Portugal" and "Spain: the extinction of trees as a result of imbalance in the water balance, or It is not the trees that are sick, but the person."

Flood and flood prevention

Like desertification, floods are not natural disasters, but the logical consequence of human error.

The tandem of floods and desertification is a very dramatic symptom of large-scale imbalances in the balance of water resources.

As I reflect on the catastrophic floods of recent years in China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Australia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Eastern Europe, I experience sensations similar to those that the biblical description of the Flood evokes in us. An innumerable number of people and animals perished, entire cities and countries were buried under water and streams of mud. When the water finally receded, it left behind only destroyed crops, destruction and epidemics. However, trying to understand the reasons, it would be possible to turn the global flood into a worldwide stream of mind, that is, learn to make every effort, on a global and local scale, to bring water resources into a balanced state.

First Demonstration Project: Natural Reservoirs and Terraces in Ecuador

What Causes Floods? In all the countries listed above, events developed approximately according to the same scenario: everything began with deforestation in entire regions, partly for the construction of warships, for export and sale, as well as for ore processing in heavy industry enterprises or for use as fuel ... The most valuable trees were cut down, leaving only less valuable shrubs in the forest. In many places, even shrubbery has been uprooted or destroyed as a result of overuse of land resources, leaving vast barren areas vulnerable to soil erosion. These barren, eroded areas grew. The soil, deprived of the root system of trees and shrubs, compacted and hardened, the body of the earth lost its ability to accumulate moisture.

But if the body of the earth and plants no longer absorb and accumulate water, then rainwater quickly and in large volumes flows from the surface. When the surface water flow picks up speed, it washes away humus and fine earth in forests and fields and carries them away. In lower areas, this leads to landslides and mud avalanches, which carry away entire villages and remaining forest plantations.

Observing the flow of a stream or source, you can understand how the water wants to move.

This fine-grained soil material ends up in rivers. Nature has provided a way out of such situations. On a river with a natural natural bed, there are riverbanks, where the flow of water forms sediments in the form of fine-grained sediments. These are wide bends with gentle banks or even floodplain meadows that receive melt water in spring. These places of sediment on the shore are especially fertile, as during the annual spills they receive moisture and humus, which are necessary for plants to develop. These areas are covered with lush vegetation and can be profitably cultivated without the need for any fertilizers. Everyone knows the historical example of the fertility of silt on the Nile River, which in the past became the basis for the well-being of an entire nation.

What has happened to rivers and streams lately? They were straightened, the direction of the channels was changed, they were built up with dams and fettered with concrete. Banks were fortified and dams were erected in order to carve out more land for agricultural needs or for the construction of houses, villages and cities. Man deepened the river bed with the help of technology, removed stones and rocks, tried to level the bottom of the river in order to make it suitable for navigation. The river was wedged into a tight corset, but this was the wrong way, since there was no room for the water. Now the river is less meandering, its bottom is silted up, the water loses its living qualities, it is no longer able to cleanse itself and give the earth fertility.

However, the water does not want to put up with this, it gets angry and breaks from captivity. If water is deprived of the possibility of natural free movement, it provides it for itself. If no room is left for her, she will win him back by force. So it comes to large-scale floods.

Observe the animals - they behave in the same way: if you lock a dog, cat or cow in a cramped room, and then open the gate a little, just enough for the animal to squeeze through, what will it do? It will not follow an important step to the exit, will not sniff at everything along the road, will not want to humbly lie here and there. No, the animal will rush into this gap, mad with panic, in search of space, it will rush through all obstacles and can even drive itself to death. This is exactly what water does.

Water behaves in a completely different way, which, as it should be, flows over the pebbles and splashes - it will never harm. And in Nature you will never find a river or stream with a straight bed. Their coastal vegetation, meanders, their rocks, rocks and riverbanks make sure that the water does not panic. Only where a person interferes with the general natural processes of movement, water overflows the banks, ruining houses and entire cities. The concreting of slopes I have encountered in Ecuador is just symptomatic treatment that only exacerbates the problem. In such cases, you should also be guided by the rule: do not fight the symptoms, but comprehend the causes and make changes. In order to prevent floods, you need to do the same as in the case of the potential threat of drought, desertification and forest fires: adjust the balance of water resources. By constructing natural reservoirs for storing water and creating water landscapes, we will be able to give to Nature what we took from her: the body of the earth - water, and the water - the ability to move freely.

Source: online magazine Grain