Rôle d’un certain type d’#élevage dans la résilience face au changement du #climat et au pic d’#énergie, dans deux textes qui se croisent :
Bee keeping for the energy descent future, David Holmgren
This thought might make some permie purists feel a little smug as they grind and leach acorns for their daily bread, but the resilience of many of our cherished tree crops to climate chaos is not much better than annual crops, a point made (through gritted teeth) by my good mate Graeme Brookman at the Food Forest. (Lack of winter chill and extreme heat waves are having increasing impact on the yield from mainstay tree crops at the Food Forest.)
Compared with annual crops, one disadvantage of tree crops is vulnerability due to specific seasonal conditions for fruit set and ripening. Long lead times and resources involved in planting and establishment of tree crop species and varieties adapted to emerging climates are also problematic.
Diversity gives us a “hedge” against climate (and market) chaos, with some winners and some losers each season, but this value from diversity is most useful in small scale systems supplying a household rather than market systems where some degree of commitment to scale and specialisation is inevitable (even in a more localised world).
Microclimate buffering of extreme weather conditions is another advantage of food forests but much of that buffering of heat scorch, frost, wind damage etc is restricted to the understorey. It is the tree canopy, especially in temperate climate systems, exposed to full sun that provides the greatest yields.
Timber forests are more capable of dealing with the extreme weather and seasonal chaos than food forests. They grow fast when moisture and temperature allow but continue to slowly gain (dense) wood in all but the most extreme seasons. Ironically it is grasslands with grazing animals that might be one of the most resilient systems of land use in the face of climate chaos; these opportunistic systems mostly developed through the pulsing of ice age and interglacial over the last few million years. Animals represent storages that dampen the pulse while predators act to further moderate and protect the whole system. Hunter/gatherer and nomadic pastoralist cultures (at their best) incorporated this wisdom of nature to survive and thrive harsh climatic transitions of the past. This interpretation might be a bitter pill to swallow for vegetarian and vegan idealists wedded to the idea that the keeping of livestock represents the most destructive and unethical of our land uses. (They will have to console themselves with the fact that the obscenity of factory farming of pigs, poultry and cattle will be consigned to the rubbish bin of history in a post peak oil world.)
Some of the historical advantages of pastoral farming and even nomadic pastoralism could also be important in the energy descent future. Animals (rather than machines and fossil fuel) do most of the work converting plant biomass into condensed and self-transporting storages of value to people. At the same time, they provide environmental services, such as vegetation management, fertility cycling, transport, companionship and even security.
Now the issue of security is a big one. Many years ago a friend travelling through the Sudan noticed that no one kept chooks and that those who could afford to, ate powdered eggs from the EU. When he asked why no one kept chooks, the answer was that someone with an M16 rifle would come along and claim the chook as theirs
The Resilient Farm and Homestead : An Innovative #Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach, Ben Falk
1816, THE YEAR WITHOUT A SUMMER
Resiliency planning, development, and operations require planning for worst-case scenarios, but we humans tend to have short memories indeed. We look back at the past with rose-colored glasses, perhaps a necessary psychological mechanism, but physically, it’s certainly a maladaptive one.
“Those who forget the past are bound to repeat its mistakes.” The Year Without a Summer is a particularly informative planning example, as it highlights the effects of a wholly natural chain of events: volcanic eruptions. The year 1816 saw a killing frost every month of the year. People died in a snowstorm in July in northern Vermont. And this was all before human beings started really tampering with the climate in earnest. This was merely the result of a series of volcanic eruptions occurring the year before in 1815, many of them on the opposite side of the planet. A year without a summer is not “likely” to happen again—it’s guaranteed to. It’s merely a question of when, not if.
As with any decision in life, we can plan for inevitable events, or we can ignore them and pretend that they won’t happen again. While the latter is certainly the modus operandi of the Modern Age, it’s not a terribly resilient way of engaging the future. So how to plan for the inevitable vagaries of Earth’s dynamic, plate-tectonic-driven influences (not to mention any other change agents such as global trade resource supply disruption)? The following strategies serve as a general overview. Write them off as tinfoil-hat approaches at your own peril:
• Store months of food, preferably a year’s supply or more. It’s easy and not that expensive, and in the end it saves you money (food costs are always increasing).
• Diversify, diversify, diversify. Note the crops that failed in 1816 in New England: vegetables and grains, annuals, fruits and nuts. Pastures, on the other hand, probably had a decent year, given that moisture levels remained high (evaporation stayed low), and the animals grazing on such pastures can handle frost easily enough. Grazing systems may have actually benefited from such a catastrophic year. That’s the power of diversity. Sure, you won’t live on meat and milk alone; that’s where the stored food comes in. Grains and beans from the year—or five years before—added to the animal-based diet would do wonders to round out the survivability of a year like 1816. Add some greens to the mix—kale, chard, arugula, and a host of other cold-hardy greens don’t care about a little frost. Now you have not only a survivable but a thriveable way to get through a particularly dynamic year like 1816. Whether it happens again in 2014 or 2114, it really doesn’t matter. You’re prepared. Your surplus can be sold or traded for value. You are a resource to your community if a food disruption only lasts a week or the entire growing season.