the midwestern United States, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere. At the same time, Australia faces historic drought conditions.
these may appear as opposite and separate events, they share a common
thread. The events themselves might not have been preventable, but their
effects could have drastically reduced.
When lands are
mismanaged, ecosystem health suffers. Bare soils become compacted and
lose porosity. Without vegetation, organic matter diminishes. Soils cap
over, gravity creates runoff and water pools at the low point. Exposed
ground heats up and moisture evaporates.
When lands are
properly managed, ecosystems build resilience against flooding,
drought, and so much more. We create living soils with adequate
structure and porosity so rainfall is absorbed and utilized by plant
roots. Trampled plant litter provides shade and cooling. Soil acts as a
sponge for quickly absorbing rainfall, but also holding that water in
reserve for dry periods.
Put into perspective, a 1% increase in soil organic matter allows an acre of land to store an additional 20,000 gallons of water.
Given the frequency of these extreme weather events and their
devastating effects, we should be looking to solutions that increase
this incredible water-holding capacity of soil.
not be able to change how much rain falls from the sky, but we can
change how that rain is used once it touches the ground. We can manage
holistically and create properly functioning water cycles for resilient
and thriving landscapes.
With 5 billion hectares of grasslands on this planet, that’s a lot of water we can put to better use.
The text above is from the excellent and informative Savory Ruminations newsletter. See the whole thing here: Flooding, drought, & functioning water cycles.