Keywords: landscape restoration, NSF, natural sequence farming, water cycle, carbon cycle, plants, heat valves, climate change, Australia, ecosystems, agriculture
Re-coupling the carbon and water cycles by Natural Sequence Farming
The techniques of Natural Sequence Farming (NSF) were developed during hands-on management of degraded farmland in the Upper Hunter Valley region of Australia. Early settlement of the continent by people with European cultural assumptions disrupted established interactions of water, soil, and plants resulting in lost fertility. Moreover, agricultural practices such as clearing, burning, ploughing, draining, and irrigation, have implications for global warming. Soils hold twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, and three times as much as vegetation. But carbon in exposed soil oxidises, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. NSF is designed to restore ecosystem functions by re-coupling the carbon and water cycles.