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During periods of drought, heat and unhealthy weather due to low air humidity and smoke from fires, which cause an environmental disaster for Brazil and the world, we must remember the lessons of Ernst Götsch on agroforestry systems and the agroforestry.
Ernst Götsch is of Swiss origin and adopted Brazil as a country to live in. It disseminates a new way of producing food in forests - agroforestry - and shows us that agroforestry systems are agroecosystems similar to natural systems: “life doesn't know time, it knows flow". Observing this premise of the ecosystem recovers degraded soils without contributions from the outside, unlike the “green revolution”And the unsustainable agribusiness model.
Agroforestry avoids the anti-ecological cycles of industrial agriculture. Planet Earth is a biocondenser because it captures 1% of the solar energy and stores hydrocarbons, so burning it is suicide.
Ernst Götsch tells us that he bought a farm with the unique name “Fugidos da Terra Seca”(Escaped from the dry land), in Tabuleiro de Valença, Bahia that had been abandoned after being degraded by intensive timber extraction. There he implemented the agroforestry system.
In one year, he planted 500 hectares of forest interspersed with cocoa, banana, and vegetables. A decade later what could be seen from an aerial shot was a dense forest that concealed a highly productive agricultural area.
The system adopted by Ernst, agroforestry, later called syntropic agriculture, regenerated the fertility of the soil, revived the springs that had disappeared and brought the rain back, generating a continuous cycle of renewal. As it did? "Working together with nature and not against itErnst responds. "With strategies that resemble the mode of operation of natural ecosystems“.
“Each plant needs not only soil, nutrients and water, but also microclimatic conditions to developErnest explains. "When they understand that, farmers create biodiverse ecosystems that provide each plant with a bubble of life, eliminating the use of poison and fertilizer.“.
In agroforestry, the sowing of agricultural crops happens alongside that of seedlings and tree seeds. They grow, creating shadows and helping to restore the fertility of the land. In a maximum of two months after implantation, the farmer already begins to harvest legumes and, later, other products such as pineapple, corn, cassava, vegetables and legumes, generating income to invest in the recovery of the area and in development of new crops.
Some of the plants that Ernest uses: purple Ipe guapuruvus, pitanga and ingá, for example. Sisal, purslane, brooms, marcela, mandacaru (cactus), pigeon pea, beans, cashew nuts, papaya ... Then he implants secondary species such as dwarf banana, guava, jurubeba, tree tomato and long-cycle tomato with pitanga, guava, avocado, araticum, ingá -lipo, pimples, etc.
Ernest also uses natural seed dispersers: birds, even exotic ones like larks, and others that until then were considered extinct.
“All species have a function, they create a paradise on earth in communication“.
The colonizers (bacteria), accumulators in the respiratory and regenerative cycles, added to the action of pollinators such as ants, insects, plus the dispersal of seeds, provide biodiversity in abundance.
But it will take 250 to 300 years to climax with the characteristics of forest self-reproduction (a complete cycle of forest respiration).
Today 14 springs have sprung up in these lands thanks to the hands of this farmer and researcher who changed the name of the establishment to "Olhos D´Água” (Water eyes).
In times of drought, mainly ethical and intellectual on the part of Brazilian politicians, proposing a disastrous revision of the Forest Code of Brazil, let us remember Benjamin Franklin: they will not survive ”.
I add: without the forest, the countryside will perish burned and deserted, as we can see today in the Cerrado and the Amazon.
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