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Distinguished Scientists Support for NSF and Peter Andrews

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 2:13 pm
by duane
This is a copy of a letter sent to PM John Howard by the distinguished Limnologist Professor Wilhelm Ripl. It is complete and unexpurgated:

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Ripl
Kleinaustrasse 11
14169 Berlin, Germany

The Hon John Howard MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House

Berlin 30/11/2006

Dear Prime Minister,

I was invited to Canberra to deliver the keynote address regarding the science of Natural Sequence Farming (NSF). This visit was sponsored by the department of agriculture and fisheries.
Originately, I was introduced to the work of Peter Andrews in the development of NSF processes in 2001, when I visited Australia at the invitation of Professor David Mitchell of Charles Sturt University, Albury.
On this occasion I was able to examine the results of Peter Andrews approach to the conservation of water resources and organic production in the Australian landscape.
Mr Andrews incisive and environmentally sensitive observations of the natural processes in Australian landscapes, and how they function to stabilise the essential ingredients of their health and agricultural productivity, were remarkably complementary to the concepts I was developing about the nature and function of landscapes in Europe.

Though differing in many respects, both landscapes had evolved processes that enabled water and organic production to be continually available through the range of climatic conditions, which they experience, which have a particularly wide variance in much of Australia.

It was especially stimulating to relate what I saw of Mr Andrew´s work in Australia to similar research I was carrying out in Europe. Our meeting and discussions led to the enrichment of both our experiences and confirmation of the validity of each approach.

My examinations of Mr Andrew´s work took place in 2001 and 2004, primarily at Tarwyn Park, Upper Bylong, and Baramul Stud, both in the Upper Hunter, and in October/November this year at Mulloon Creek Natural Farms near Bungendore, NSW. This experience has enabled me to extend the theoretical framework which my colleagues and I have developed in Europe over the last two decades.

Our work has shown the central significance of the role of vegetation in stabilizing the dissipative water cycle in lowering temperature by evapotranspiration of plants by day, followed by the condensation of water vapour returning to the vegetation in lowered temperatures, especially at night. This water is then reabsorbed by the plants, thereby providing feed-back control by short-circuiting the water cycle that would otherwise be lost into the atmosphere in much larger quantities.

The rehydration of the ancient Australian landscape through the environmentally sensitive practice of NSF will enable Australian society to increase landscape efficiency and sustainability by promoting natural sequences of water, soils and plants (both native and introduced) to counteract desertification and enhance economic and environmental productivity in the national interest.

This holistic approach, when coupled with reductionist science, has proved to be much more effective than reductionism on its own. The latter approach is necessary but not sufficient to address our global environmental issues, which is clearly shown by the worldwide presence of degrading environments and increasing desertification.

Modeling studies of the effects of the dry greenhouse gases, CO2 and methane provide little hope for a solution of the problem in the near future.

By contrast, NSF shows that it is feasible to “green” even archaic landscapes step by step. Moreover, it is also possible to monitor the achievements of this process by evaluation of satellite images showing spatial temperature distribution and the progress of landscape dissipative processes such as the production of vegetation and the distribution of cooling short- circuited, surficial water cycles.

The sequestration of carbon dioxide, retention of water in living biomass, embedding of horticulture within tree vegetation, and the daily distribution of dew are all benefits which can be achieved by providing an economic framework that makes it profitable to green the landscape and thereby provide a long term future for society.

I want to thank your government for providing me with the opportunity to see the first new strategies for a green landscape and hope for the future not only for Australia, but for our global ecosystems economic and environmental resilience.

With best wishes and seasons greetings yours sincerely

Wilhelm Ripl

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 2:19 pm
by duane
This is a copy of a letter sent to PM John Howard by the distinguished Scientist Dr Jan Pokorny. Dr Pokorny is the Director of the TŘEBOŇ INNOVATION CENTERCENTER OF APPLIED RESEARCH in Dukelská , Czech Republic. It is complete and unexpurgated:

145, CZ - 379 01 TřeboňCzech RepublicTel.:420 384 706 111 Fax: +420 384 706 112
Dr. Jan Pokorný

The Hon John Howard MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House

Dear Prime Minister,
Třeboň, 4 December 2006

My recent experience of visiting Australia (my fourth including 6 months as visiting scientist to the CSIRO Centre for Irrigation Research in 1985 ), to witness the impact of the most serious drought on record, to see empty reservoirs and to be informed of severe repercussions on farmers, raised many questions about the extent to which Australian management of water in the landscape contributed to the seriousness of the drought and the extent to which humanity in general is responsible for changes in the global climate.

In the estimated 120 000 years that modern man has inhabited the Earth, agriculture has seemingly only been practiced for some 10 000 years. Most past, agriculturally-based civilisations cleared natural vegetation, drained landscapes and exposed soils to erosion and salinisation contributing ultimately to the collapse of these civilisations. Archaeologists have found them buried under sand in deserts, or overgrown in dense tropical forests, the final cause of their demise usually remaining a mystery.

All these phenomena are present in Australia and in many other countries, especially where there is the additional destabilising pressure of exponential growth in the human population. Most of the population in developed countries lives in cities and has lost contact with the rural lands on which they ultimately depend for their existence. This dependence is moderated through a relatively small number of farmers and other managers of the resources in the landscape who prepare water for cities, moderate climate, determine sustainability of landscape and provide food and material for further economic activities. While, in many places, programs aimed at restoration and maintenance of landscape functions are being implemented slowly, they do not compensate adequately for the ongoing damage being caused by widespread routine landscape management.

Natural sequence farming (NSF) developed by Peter Andrews in Australia employs sustainable landscape management principles for dry-land farming focussed on retention of water, extension of the water cycle and the wise use of vegetation. This results in rehydration of the landscape, improved climate stability (lower climate variability) and increased fertility and productivity of the land through the integration of energy, water and other raw materials in the production of agricultural products.

A scientific based International Reference Panel for Natural Sequence Farming was established in 2004 with the following Terms of Reference:
1. To provide objective advice on the continuing progress of the Natural Sequence Farming Research and Development Program.
2. To encourage publication of research on NSF in peer reviewed scientific journals.
3. To facilitate and forge national and international links to promote NSF technology and its benefits.
4. To promote the application and evaluation of NSF technology for the (hydrological restoration) of Australian landscapes.

The Panel met on the 31st of October in Bugendore, New South Wales during a workshop entitled “Natural Sequence Farming - Defining the Science and the Practice” and confirmed these Terms of Reference.
The Conference took place in Bungendore New South Wales, near Canberra. Farmers, scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, civil servants and politicians discussed the possibilities of restoring Australian landscapes using principles of NSF.

Generally, the notoriously dry Australian landscape is more dehydrated than the landscapes in other continents, though these also require restoration measures from dryness at certain times. Australia has the chance to be the leading country in the development of processes that will provide systems for the sustainable management of landscapes under a range of conditions. Examples already exist and 21 projects on landscape recovery based on NSF have been elaborated and submitted for support under the Water Smart Programme.

It is also important to realise that the role of water and vegetation has not been sufficiently considered in recent explanations of the green house effect and climatic change. Drainage of land and decrease of complex natural vegetation cover are associated with a shift of solar energy from local evaporative cooling effects generated by such vegetation via latent heat of water vapour into release of sensible heat. These changes in heat fluxes are hundreds of watts per meter square and create heat potentials that destabilize climate. Such heat distribution and its changes in time can be demonstrated from recorded satellite images. On the other hand, the accretion of greenhouse gases (CO2 etc.) in the atmosphere during the last 100 years caused (according to greenhouse theory) an increase of heat of 1-3 watts per meter square. It is evident that drainage and suppression of vegetation markedly increases the release of heat to the atmosphere above that of dry green-house gases.

In conclusion, there is a strong case to support the further development of NSF and its applicability to current conditions in Australia. This requires support of model projects of landscape restoration adopting NSF approaches including simultaneous monitoring and scientific interpretation. This should lead to local restoration of the water cycle and of vegetation in the landscape. This, in turn, will also mitigate local effects of climate change, and enable critical revision of green house effect theory in respect of the role of water and vegetation.

With best wishes and season greetings
Jan Pokorný