An excellent interview with Mark Shepard talking about how he went about purchasing some land and turning it over into a productive polyculture that earns him a living, specifically focusing on how difficult it actually was. He uses great agroforestry techniques with special attention to planting annuals between rows or letting the animals in for pest control measures. I found this fascinating and very informative, real experience about the practicalities of what people call “permaculture”. If you think farming is going to be easy, sadly your mistaken.
“The only way to get a farm with no outside inputs is to imitate ecology. Imitating ecology is imitating your biome where you are. Having the full array of plants and animals that would have been there. But of course since we are humans and we have our own self interests, our food, nutrition, and economy in mind we pick the species that pick the best for us and we manage it like a natural system. And nature has never spent a dime on pest or disease control or fertility.”
Time seems to pass more slowly for lighter animals with faster metabolisms
One “dog year” supposedly equals seven human years. But does one year feel like seven years to a dog? Evidence suggests that distinct species do indeed experience passing time on different scales. A recent study in Animal Behavior reveals that body mass and metabolic rate determine how animals of different species perceive time.
Time perception depends on how rapidly an animal’s nervous system processes sensory information. To test this ability, researchers show animals a rapidly flashing light. If the light flashes quickly enough, animals (and humans) perceive it as a solid, unblinking light. The animal’s behavior or its brain activity, as measured by electrodes, reveals the highest frequency at which each species perceives the light as flashing. Animals that can detect the blinking at higher frequencies are perceiving time at a finer resolution. In other words, movements and events will appear to unfold more slowly to them—think slow-motion bullet dodging in an action movie.
If there was just one place in the world where it would make sense to protect trees, maintain the rainforest and damp down global warming, scientists have confirmed that it would be the island of Borneo.
A new research report published in the Journal of Ecology says that while the Amazon rainforest might be the biggest and most important area of green canopy on the planet, Borneo soaks up, tree for tree, more carbon from the atmosphere.
Lindsay Banin, an ecologist at the UK-based Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEU), and colleagues from Malaysia, Brunei, the U.S., Brazil, Taiwan, Peru and Ecuador investigated what is called above-ground wood production—the most visible, tangible indicator of carbon uptake—to see how forests in Amazonia and Indonesia measured up as consumers of atmospheric carbon.
The tropical rainforests cover only one-tenth of the planet’s land surface, but they account for about one-third of the terrestrial primary production—that is, about one-third of the conversion of sunlight into greenery happens in the tropical forests—and they soak up about half of all terrestrial carbon.
Borneo is home to the largest number of Dipterocarp species on the planet—more than 270 have been identified. They can reach up to 60 meters when fully mature. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons