Coping With Slope: Permaculture Ideas Can Help

Use of vetiver grass is one permaculture solution for a sloping site.

Tomorrow, I will share a small case study which shows a solution for a steep slope in a tropical climate. More on that tomorrow. But today, I thought I would share some of the key solutions permaculture offers to deal with sloping sites.

Where slopes are not so extreme, and where the conditions are suitable, swales (on contour) are dug to retain water in the landscape.

Where slopes are more extreme, terracing a site can also help in water retention, and also make the area suitable for access and cultivation.

Some may advocate getting in the bulldozers. But terracing can also often be achieved using less invasive and expensive methods. Building barrier fences can help. Chickens can sometimes be used to help – due to their natural tendency to scratch soil downhill. There are a number of clever small scale solutions that might avoid the need for heavy machinery.

Revegetating denuded slopes is of course crucial for ecosystem restoration, and to reduce issues of landslip, runoff and soil erosion.

Planting trees, shrubs and other deep rooted plants (such as the Vetiver grass you will see in tomorrow’s case study, for example) can help.

And more shallow rooted ground cover species should also be used to anchor the higher layers of the soil.

Of course, this is a complex topic and there is far more that could be said. But I hope this brief overview will be useful in showing how permaculture provides solutions for coping with slope in a landscape.

If you have a sloping site, need help to prevent soil erosion or to manage water more wisely on your property, please do reach out to discuss your needs, and I would be glad to discuss it and come up with a quote for a design, or simply offer consultancy on these issues.

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