Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Climate change, vegetable gardens, and sustainable design in Mongolia | The Sustainable [R]evolution

Over thousands of years, Mongolian culture has adapted to their land in a way that has, in turn, reshaped their landscape. The nomads’ herds have gradually nibbled away at the edges of the conifer forests that at one time would have covered the endless hills, until the trees at last retreated to their remaining, precarious holds of today: mostly along the steeper erosion gullies, where animals cannot easily graze. As you drive through the landscape, it feels as though you are tearing around a giant golfcourse, complete with massive sand bunkers and epic water hazards.

However, what looks to be an immaculately manicured golf green from a distance, is in fact an optical illusion of hardy grasses, herbs, and the occasional shrub growing at arm’s length from each other in the sandy beige soils; anywhere the pasture loses its grip on the land, it is likely to be washed away with the next heavy rain. These pastures of the steppe cling tightly to the sandy soil, and as you move further up into the foothills, erosion gulllies twist and wind their way down to the river flats, cutting wide sandy banks that look like beach sand dunes, revealing just how precarious their grip on the landscape really is...

.. click here to read the full article, an excerpt from the upcoming book 'Sustainable [R]evolution', to be released Spring 2012.

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