How Peter Andrews rejuvenates drought-struck land | Australian Story
How Peter Andrews rejuvenates drought struck land Australian Story

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Is "natural sequence farming" the secret to restoring our water-starved continent? For more than a decade, two farmers have shown that parched landscapes can be revived. And finally, Canberra's listening. Australian Story explores the potential solution to Australia’s drought crisis. Read more here: #environment #drought For more from ABC News, click here: Follow us on Twitter: Like us on Facebook: Subscribe to us on YouTube: Follow us on Instagram:


PolskaWalczaca : 21 min. The best part. It takes 2 weeks to get it done. But, it takes the government 2 years to approve the paperwork. Then it's too late .......

Gerald Pauschmann : Makes me sick when politicians who have no idea how to work the land when we have dedicated and knowledgeable men like Peter and Tony who know how to restore the land back to its original state. True AUSTRALIANS OF THE YEAR. RIP Tony Cootes

John Doe : This same phenomenon of water retention and land rejuvenation was observed in the USA when beavers were reintroduced to parts of the country where they had been wiped out by fur trapping 100 years prior. The beavers build dams of wood and mud to create habitat they can live in and as in this documentary, the land could hold water again and desert became oasis. (edit) I was horrified by the other story in this documentary about the Bylong coal mine and KEPCO mining company. Unfortunately, it's a story that repeats itself in every country where big greed outweighs the powerless public.

Kyorisu : The government cannot be trusted to repair the environment.

Brian Strow : Jeff Lawton has done a lot of this kind of work, a great story by the way.

PAOLO RICCI : Sad to hear he passed away in August.... great man.

Romulous75 : My mother learnt about this decades ago. The same regeneration has been carried out on African farms where you slow down the water across the land and make it soak in.

Allegro Sotto : These people are heroes. Fighting governments who support multinational chemical companies is a gigantic task. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their efforts to save this land from the fools.

Big Gun : I've been on the Peter Andrews train since the first time I saw Peter on the abc many years ago. I bring his name & storey up when ever I can & some farmers a quite hostile to a towny giving advice about there land. But I'm happy to say I've had one land holder & his wife watch & read everything they could on Peter & are now implementing it on there own property.

gvukster : 6000 acres!!!!! Amazing work. Blessings from Canada

C Fields : The USA could learn so much from this. The land is not for instant gratification.

Yash L : In India we call it check dams they works well in terms of slowing down water flow,helps ground water table up,all bio-diversity thrives around these little water bodies it’s a wonderful idea to implement it costs minimal too.

John Dwyer : I really enjoyed this. I the US where I live, it was decided that it was a problem that the Mississippi river meandered. It made it difficult for large cargo vessels to navigate the delta and to enter the river going north. It was dredged and levee'd and at some point the river flowed straighter and shipping was improved YEA,.....uh.....not so yea. When the river meandered it slowed down and that allowed it to drop its' sediment at the end of the delta and the delta grew. The delta with all its marsh lands also protected cities from hurricanes and the storm surge that comes with them. When the river was straightened it flowed faster and now it not only didn't drop its sediment and grow the delta, it now picked up the silt and sediment that was already there and took it further out to sea and dropped it in deeper water, so the delta has been shrinking and cities like New Orleans don;t have the protection that they once had. The problem in the past has been engineers and governments both have seen nature like a set of Lego's that they can take apart and put together anyway they please and technically they had the ability to do it but not the understanding of the consequences.

Copia Permaculture : good story, fully support this method. I'm a little bit surprised there's no mention of PA Yeoman and his Keyline Design methods. Yeoman was an australian man who developed many of these techniques and refined them to a high degree over 40 years ago.

Rigging Doctor : I bet with better moisture retention in the soil, we might be able to harness better farming and feed more people. Why don’t more countries care about preserving their land? Oh yeah, they just want to win the next election and not actually do anything that will have a true long term result...

Rodney Caupp : I have played in the mud all my life. I started trying to understand Geology and Hydrology at about the age of 5..., I remember clearly. I'm 68 now and I have done a couple of "stream works", along the way, stopping erosion and slowing the water down. I bought my present home 3 years ago and before the first spring weather had ended, I installed a couple of artificial aquifers in a dry spot, hoping for a similar result, to that seen in this video. Now I have Cat Tails, and Tree Frogs, and Birds and Butterflys in my postage stamp sized backyard. I did a similar creek in Tennessee and through the worst drought on record, the creek and pond stayed filled for the trees and wildlife in that dry wash holler. I LOVED this video. You Aussies are great. I have to confess, "I to planted a willow tree in the damp soil", and it is reaching over 4 meters in 2.5 years. In the Hydrosphere of this planet, plants are the most important functional part of that process, "the Hydrologic Cycle". No Trees..., we, and many species of plants and animals will be gone. Global warming is a farce. Screwing up the Land , the rivers and forests is what we have done best. Make the repairs, now, and the Hydrologic Cycle will air condition the entire planet, for all time.

Heli Iso-Aho : This is where taxpayers money should go to....storing moisture, building soils structure to get through dry periods in the land. Thank you for Mulloon Institute and Natural Sequence Farming - and Australian Story for showing the film. Will be supporting The Mulloon Institute work for sure :-)

Delta Fox : I'd like to know which muppets gave a thumbs-down to the most inspiring story I've seen this year!

Michael Froelich : Here in central Texas we did the same thing. At a ranch called Selah the owner cut down all the Junipter trees which had been soaking up the ground water and planted grass instead. The water table rose by over 500 feet and flooded the whole ranch with springs and rivers.

supercal333 : Looks like these guys are re-inventing design principles that fellow Australians P A Yeomans (keyline design system) and Bill Mollison (permaculture) came up with many years prior. They should look them up as their systems are probably further asking in their development.

Milosz Ostrow : There are parallels in North America, where ranchers had been killing beavers and destroying their dams for decades. Fortunately, some are now realizing that the beaver dams slow down water flow, raising water levels upstream and watering the meadows, thus providing more fodder for cattle.

Private Name withheld : And it all means nothing when the mining companies want your land..

Mini DK#9 : So the lesson here is don't let water run off your land without letting it soak into your aquifer .

Lars Hildebrandt : In Canada we call them beaver ponds! Our national rodent, the industrious beaver builds millions of these all across our country, allowing the water table to be brought high throughout our landscape, creating ponds everywhere, sometimes too much so! But they also love roadway ditches, and the ready made dams that roads can become, once the culverts and bridges are dammed! But if you have a seasonally dry landscape those "check dams" are the way to hydrating the landscape. Also follow permaculture principles of working your fields on contoured elevation, and following contours with tree rows, hedge rows and field rows! This all adds water to your lands, and builds your hydrological storage in the landscape, while adding nutrients. Great to see!! Cheers!

zabaleta : This is amazing. Being in relatively water rich New Zealand it's a shame to see many of our farmers destroy water habitats in such a blase fashion.

quaddrix07 : THIS is Permaculture. It is regenerative agriculture. It is actually MORE than organic farming and complements it. Australia has blessed us by sharing this information all over the world. It is one of the ways we can adapt to climate change because we MUST HAVE: water security, food security and energy security. Bill Mollison is the founder of Permaculture. Geoff Lawton is probably the most famous with online courses. I studied and am certified in the Caribbean. Small Island Developing states close to the equator - the first to feel the effects of climate change who did nothing to cause it.

nosuchthingasshould : There is also the Key Line approach to slowing down water flow, another Australian invention, and the mob grazing, that one from Africa. And this. They all seem like they would complement one another perfectly. If only a concerted effort could be put in place, a country like Australia could be a beacon to the world.

Sarah hobbiton : What a HERO good on you Mr Andrews, I now live in the U.K. but Australia 🇦🇺 will always be home and in my heart. I used to take my kids camping at the Keiwa river. A beautiful area I remember one year I turned up on the river bank to camp and was devistated by the government had made the farmers take and bulldoze all the gorgeous old willows...😵😢😩😱 it was the worst thing I had seen...all the soil in huge clumps, ripped apart tree roots... Australia 🇦🇺 is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The government want to keep their noses out they know F**kall sitting in their offices. I hope 🤞🏻 that this is a big wake up call to them

Jesse Campbell : Here in America the EPA would have shut this guy down and threatened to take his farm. Here in Minnesota they wouldn't even let us plant willow trees to slow the vast erosion being caused by a small river during periods of heavy rain and snow melt. Eventually that same erosion washed out a road lol. I cant even imagine what they would do if we wanted to build a small dam, probably send people with guns out to the property to make sure we dont.

Marc Moon : He’s right. We have diverted rain water from our roofs properties roads etc into the sea. No chance for water to seep into the ground

CM 86 : Also, water held back is absorbed into the plant life and in turn released into the atmosphere to fall back to earth as rain. Trees and all vegetation is far more effective in releasing water vapour to form rainclouds than evaporation from a body of water. Rainforests make their own rain. The clearing of trees that have a huge surface area to release moisture and Diminishing overall vegetation plays a major role in causing droughts. If these methods were rolled out on a large scale, it could refuel the whole natural ecosystem.

actorzone : there are a lot of people who have saying for years that farmers have over cleared their properties and have been fobbed off, land holders have cleared to the river banks then watch over the years all the degradation of the soil, if i had my way no-one would be allowed to clear to the river banks closer than at least 100 meters of any natural creek or river or any watercourse no matter how small, clearing hill sides which is too steep to farm has also been cleared, why i ask? A farmer said to me he had to bring in bees to pollinate his crop, i said to him you have created the problem yourself by clearing the natural vegetation off your land then expect bees to come from "somewhere" and pollinate your crop, i came from the bush and most people i know of have not a clue about managing the environment, which includes well educated environmentalists and politicians as they have been brought up in the city and have never lived close to nature like i have which was practically in the bush, yet they are the ones who make the decisions about the bush, what a joke.

Trevor Austin : Slowing up water also gives the benefit of reducing flooding when it does rain.

Kathleen Beveridge : This is a beautiful story of the restoration of land. It's so VERY sad that there is such a struggle with laws and regulations within the government, for something that is so beneficial to the agriculture down under. Turning dry desolate land into a green thriving ecosystem is no easy task, but it is without doubt the correct path to be taking. I hope that more people understand this before it is too late to restore the land and the quality of life that it can bring. ANYTIME you restore the natural balance of land and the delicate ecosystem, it is the correct decision. Those that cannot or will not see the importance of this are only fooling themselves. We cannot go through life destroying the land and then wonder why it is not sustaining the people. We rip and tear at the land, with our high-rises, parking lots and such, until the land is battered bruised and broken. Then we stand back in disbelief and wonder how we got to the point of unsustainability. This is a no-brainer. We know what we must do and yet there is legislation that stops the restoration. Sadly, this is NOT just an Oz issue. This is happening EVERYWHERE!!! When will people see what we have done to the land? When will people decide that enough is enough?

Mark-Leon Thorne : Extraordinary. We can turn this damage around.

Kevin Byrne : These efforts at ecosystem restoration recall the World Bank's efforts to restore China's loess plateau -- an effort that was documented by John Liu in his film "The Lessons of the Loess Plateau" (2009), which is available on YouTube. In China, farming had exhausted the top soil, so the farmers adopted grazing, and the animals destroyed the plants that had once helped water to seep into the soil. Result: a once flourishing mix of forests and prairies was reduced to a moonscape. But the Chinese peasants built terraces and planted grasses and other plants, and gradually water returned to the land. No irrigation was necessary -- just prevent the run-off of rainwater.

Michael S. : This can work anywhere in the world

CKB : from uk: beautiful video. with good outcome. plant more trees to catch moisture from the air.   love the oz.

Discerning Troll : One of many Pioneers in this area. I worked as a Valuer up until 1986 in Queensland valuing mainly Rural Land. There were a few of his type everywhere even in those days. Inevitably whenever I talked to Soil Conservation Officers in the then Department of Primary Industries they were aware of these modern day Pioneers. That Section was made up of practical people with various Qualifications. About 140 of them for the State of Queensland. They did tremendous work liaising with Farmers. They had managed to get cultivated land on slopes virtually all contoured etc. No big stick. The Government would provide reasonable priced loans to farmers. These people would act as advisers. They taught themselves by observation of what worked and what did not. They were about to start on projects like the above. The key was to get a few in every district etc. started and then it advertised itself. That was in the bad old Joh days. Not that bad in most practical ways. This was the type of thing they were preparing to move into having finished there land Contour work in Queensland. They knew the good examples all around the State. All that was required was to get there skills up and gradually promote this type of thing in Queensland. Most farmers can't spend the months needed to get the skills themselves. All destroyed. Wayne Goss got elected in Queensland. He acting on advise no doubt from some hopeless Desk Jockey in Brisbane disbanded the Section and with it the hundreds of years of experience and knowledge they had. Most made redundant. We then had the Desk Jockey Environmentalists take over fresh out of University. Absolute idiots who knew nothing about getting out there on a hot summers day taking levels and about what machinery etc. could do and detailed knowledge about vegetation etc. You know all the essential things like how to plant it so it grew etc. Useless for the average farmer. All theory people who just dictated. Do this! It did not matter that they could never do it or manage the implementation themselves. The ridiculous rulings that came out after that were a disgrace. Those 140 people all gone. A disaster. At least the Joh Government understood what was required. The Goss Government (Labor Lawyer) did not have a clue in practise. That other Labor ideas man Rudd was part of Goss's team. The idea is easy Mr Rudd. Implementing it is difficult. How much did he have to do with that disastrous decision? Good ideas man but never ask him to implement anything. A self confessed NERD who could not even handle tame old Dairy Cows. Not an all round man. Yes he has good ideas. Thats it. The chances missed! Thanks to Expert idiots at the Top. Those Soil Conservation Section people thought just like this man above. Minimum work with Machinery to repair damage. Then vegetation of the correct type. Just like here it was not there ideas. They gained there hands on experience from men like the above Farmer and contributed there skills. A real team effort. Not desk jockey dictators. They were always out there in the dirt. All had Degrees but that was only the start. To think they were replaced by idiots with only a Degree!

A Man : Funny we think we are so advanced yet we rediscover Indus Valley (modern day Punjab) water management 5000 years later. Fair play at least they are improving the world around us, respect ✊🏾

Resplendent Moron : I can't seem to find the video now, but some years ago I saw a video about a strategy for de-desertification being experimented with in Israel. It basically boiled down to setting up ridges and furrows to shelter small vegetation from the wind, reducing evaporation, helping to retain rainwater. This led to fungus growing and absorbing and encapsulating salt, so it also effectively desalinated the soil. Anyhow, I didn't go through the whole process, just set up a little plot with a ridge like that in my dad's desert backyard in the US, and started piling leaves on it. That compost heap stayed moist all summer. It was full of 5 inch long grubs, and crawling with other invertebrates. The surrounding areas, even where leaves had been piled up, were dead. This is 30 miles from the nearest river, and a half mile from the nearest wash. And this isn't chaparral or merely kinda-dry terrain, this was actual desert. There are strategies that will work absolutely anywhere.

Geoffrey Curtis : The government wants people of the land Agenda 21.

Steve Elliott : Great story. Positive, hopeful and inspirational.

Mark chapman : You mean we respect nature instead of exploiting it?

Igaluit : The authorities let a coal mine there to stop farmers from reclaiming their lands.

Diedert Spijkerboer : This project follows some very simple hydrological principles which can be applied anywhere. Basically, the whole project is about retaining water in the land for longer by slowing down the flow of water in creeks. The level of water in the creeks remains higher, which means that the water in the soil does not flow down into the creek, because the water level in the creek is not lower than that in the soil. Instead, the creek can even feed water to the land when drought causes the water level in the soil to go down. The willow trees enhance the ability of the soil to retain the water, slowing down loss of water from the soil even more. As I said, these principles are very basic. If the project gets a good hydrologist on board, that person can easily substantiate the science behind the project. In fact, I'm surprised that agriculture departments at Australian universities are not backing the project more.

White Family : the contemporary for hydrological earthworks is another Australian - Darren Doherty. Past Aussies in this field P.A Yeomans and Bill Mollison. Also Alan Savory. It is not for the want of talent and knowledge and wisdom that our environment is in the state it is. Look to the corporate fascists powerful families et al. WWG1WGA!

Joan Taylor : Another example of government being the enemy of the people and the environment!!

belesariius : i'd love to know what permaculture course he did, or whether he had conversations with Bill Mollison or David Holmgren- ''slowing '' the water down is the secret - not burning organic material and planting covers ( trees, shrubs etc ) best of all - doing water harvesting at elevation. Sack all governments, local or otherwise who do not implement this