Macropermaculture – permaculture on size scales that affect the climate

I was thinking we could have a field called macro-permaculture, this is permaculture on the size scale where it begins to influence the climate. Its permaculture+metereology.

There are scientific studies that show forests create rain. The water evaporates from the trees, and then high up in the air, coalesces around small biological particles, which also released from the trees, and thus forming rain.

There is also another newer theory called the biotic pump which says that forests create a low pressure system that creates wind and draws in water from the ocean. If there was a corridor of forests leading inland from the ocean there could be rain further inland from the ocean.

Permaculture has a number of methods to then catch the rain, and filter it into the soil and aquifers below, methods like ditches, ponds, beavers, and mycelia. When the water goes into the groundwater table, it stays there longer, and can keep plants hydrated into drought season. Water can come out of springs during the dry season, and help streams to keep running. Rains can then happen during the drought season, thus shifting the meteorological cycles. The water feedback loops are thus altered, shifting the climate

Ponds and swales can catch the rainwater and guide it into the soil, rocks and branches placed in the path of rainwater to slow it so it can seep downward, and beavers build dams that overflow streams so that water enters the floodplains, and then down into the water tables. Mulch and mycelia can enrich the ability of the soil to absorb water. This then shifts the water cycle, it affects when the water moves into the atmosphere, thus shifting the air and rain patterns in those areas.

In China, a desert the size of France has been regreened, through slowing the rainfall with terraces and swales/ditches so it could seep down into the soil, and then planting trees in the more hydrated soil. As the vegetation flowered it brought back the rains.

Most people, including many permaculturists, think of permaculture as something that happens in backyards and small organic farms, not something that can influence the climate, thus permaculture have not been that involved in the climate debate, but if this field of study and work called macropermaculture becomes more well known, then permaculture could become more fully part of the climate movement.

  • It occurs to me another name to call this Macropermaculture field is Climate Permaculture. That way it can draw the attention of the climate movement more. There are many people with the mistaken view permaculture is only for backyard gardening and small farms.

Accompanying podcast

Other references:

Charles Eisenstein animation video on why water cycles affect the climate

Charles Eisensteins chapter 4 from his book “Climate” about how the water cycle influences the climate

Earth Repair Radio Episodes 2 and Episode 22

Professor Millian Millan on connection of land use and climate

TED talk about creating 20% more rain, 11% more clouds with the planting of 20 square kilometer forest in Borneo

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