Podcast 244 – Mark Vander Meer on soil restoration

Published 11 years ago in missoula , Permaculture , Podcasts , soil - 0 Comments

This is a presentation given by Mark Vander Meer at the 2012 Inland Northwest Permaculture convergence. Mark is a soil scientist who works as a wild restoration ecologist in Montana. His presentation focuses on soil restoration and is very much question driven.

He starts off by talking about the water shed death spiral where the soil looses its ability to hold water. Mark identifies three main reasons for that to occur: Compaction, roads, and loss of soil organic matter. He explains that the problem results in streams and springs disappearing.

He then starts talking about soil basic components (sand, silt, and clay) and the very important water stable aggregate. This last component is formed of sand, silt and clay held together mostly by fungi. The water stable aggregate is very important because it holds its form in the presence of water and allows the soil to keep pockets of air instead of turning to pudding. These air pockets are critical to biological life.

Mark explains that gardeners are very accustomed to creating water stable aggregate by adding compost to soil. In his work he uses slashing (the wood bits and branches left over from logging) to restore the aggregate after logging operations. He then explains that spreading slashing helps to decompact the soil and to restore biological activity. In turns this helps to restore the water shed health.

He concludes the presentation talking about road reclamation, deer pressure, and white rot vs. brown rot.

All of the document for the presentation are available at permies.com/mark

You can discuss this podcast on this thread at Permies.