PDC Module 2: Understanding Nature

Module 2: Understanding Nature



Soil Analysis and Interpretation. Tests and prediction of soils, effects on plant choice, dealing with soil extremes and toxicity. Mechanisms of Soil Degradation, The Nitrogen & Carbon cycle. What is Humus, how does it enrich the soil? Difficult soils Platin soil, Caliche soil, Water resistant soil, Clay.  Analyse what soil and persistent vegetation types you have and learn the different ways to deal with them. Plants for different acidities. Composting, mulching, green and animal manure and worm farming. Increasing fertility of your site naturally.

Forests and Trees

lilly_pilly_top_gardenTrees as energy transducers: wind, sun and rainfall. Wind and Forests: Understanding how trees deflect wind, absorb its impact, affect temperature change (type of chill-effect). Light and Forests. Design for absorption and transmission or reflection of light by trees. Understanding the use of light, photosynthesis by trees and more.
Rain, trees and ground water tables.  Prevention of erosion, transportation of nutrients.
Function of taproots.  Value of litter from trees.  How ground water is filled.  The role of trees in transpiring ground water.  How rain is made, including cloud seeding.  Why trees put out condensation at night.  Negative ions from trees – what they do.

The Different Types of Forest: Fuel, Food (traditional orchards, classic vines and trees, indigenous fruit crops), Forage, Shelterbelt and animal barrier, Structural forests
Natural and Conserved forests, Establishment of Forest, Forest management, ‘Weeds’ of the your local native Bushland or Forests.  Identification and organic removal options. And staging plans for widespread weed infestations.

Vital Water in The Landscape

197453_10150132885378180_8377601_nWater is a rare mineral and the world’s most critical resource. Learn how to manage water, ensuring that it is contained and filtered, not polluted and recycled as many times as possible by your system. Learn to use water as many times as possible before it passes through the system. Slow water to reduce erosion. The Duties of Water: to procreate life, to develop productive water systems, to develop hydraulic uses for energy production. In particular we can: Increase surface storage, Reduce run-off, Decrease evaporation.

The essential techniques are: Soil storage (rehabilitation of compressed and/or sealed soils), Swales (soakage to high groundwater), Mulch (prevention of evaporation), Small surface storages (dams and tanks), Dams and natural swimming pools, Evaporation strategy, Large roofed tank, Irrigation Systems and rules (arid regions), Managing Waste Water, Clearing polluted water; Greywater.

Aquaculture and Mariculture

water_dragonAquaculture is the employment of water systems for food production. Mariculture is the management of salted water for food production. These include mangroves, estuaries and tidal areas. Learn how to select species (plant and animals) for pond size. Set up self-forage Polyculture systems for fish. Pond sizes and productivity. What to avoid and how to be successful on a small scale.

Wildlife Management and Biological Pest Control.

432233_10150675295918180_1552132860_nWhat and how to encourage valuable species. Human Settlement design and protection of surrounding native species. Interlaced wildlife corridors. Ideas on Pest ‘Control’. Integrated pest management. Plant species for different native animal feed, protection and habitat.

Buildings and Structures

chickencoop2Objectives of environmental housing are to minimise energy input for heating and lighting, provide low-allergenic living space, connect the home with the landscape and surrounds, build for durability rather than subject to fashion to avoid wasteful demolition and reconstruction, minimal maintenance and housework, planned well to accomodate future needs. The temperate to sub-tropical house : Orientation, Insulation and draft-proofing, Thermal mass, Ventilation, Insulation of the ground under the house, Heat banks, Cold sinks and wall shading, The Greenhouse, shadehouse and water tanks, Function and aspect of rooms. The tropical house: The tropics (Latitudes 0-30) requirements: Orientation, shade, Reduction of mass, Venting and air flow ducts, Trellis and shadehouse, Air scoops, Tanks and cisterns, Insect screens, Guttering and rain catchment. The Desert house: Underground houses, Patio structure, Shadehouses, Insulation, Trellis, Positioning of Windbreaks, Underground water tanks. Retrofitting Existing Housing. Exploring ventilation, Heat banks, Living area use. Easy money-saving options for people on low incomes, or in rental homes. Special Houses: Houseboat, Bioshelter (plant house), Earth houses, Cave houses, Pond housing, Reflective systems, Flat land, Earth-bermed houses. Planting around houses: Sun Traps, paths to funnel light and wind, reflect heat, reflective species, and structures; Windbreaks (short and long term low budget options); Wall trellis; Shade/heat; summer-winter use of deciduous and evergreen plants; Roof trellis. Plan for least work, control and use of leaf litter where it falls, replacement of ‘lawn’ and mud.  Fencing types and locations: Fox proof fencing/boundaries; Dog-proof fences. Management of the Dog in your system. Fences of stone and earth; Hedges – living fences; Combination ditch/hedge.  Different fence designs as well as materials. Integration of functions in homes: Room by room analysis of the home, functions, needs and opportunity for maximising space. Includes Redesign of existing homes for natural light and warmth.

Housework: Design for ease of permaculture activities such as recycling, seed saving, gardening, and housework. Permaculture aims to reduce waste – your time that may be wasted also counts. People friendly homes can be designed for reduced housework (maintenance) load and more time to be productive.
Commerce and light industry in home, Function of the Garden, Kitchen and Wet Zones, The Indoor/Outdoor relationship of people-friendly homes.