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How Much Seed, Soil From This Much Rain? 1st April 2022

I was pondering the LinkedIn posts showing video of road washouts & whirlpools resulting from truly staggering amounts of rain across this weekend here in arid South Australia.

I lamented the sheer amount of topsoil, nutrient, soil crust & seed bank that has been scoured off these properties & deposited way, way downstream…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impact of Heavy Rain:

 


This amount of rain can be truly destructive & heartbreaking…

Then; then, I thought about these amounts of rain on our revegetation sites, (there be 4 big ones), in the Port Augusta region; the Ash Dam, Bird Lake, Cultana Army Base & PAREP Solar & Wind Farm.

They have coloniser plants on them; numbers in the region of 15 plants per m2; they have healthy populations of soil critters & lizards; these sites & their soils can absorb these sorts of rains…

If this is the case, then all this water has soaked in & will absolutely fire up all sorts of germination, transpiration (& seed production….).

This got me to thinking; the last Ash Dam monitoring was in mid October last year (4 years of data folks; 320 hectares of revegetation in the arid zone; landscape scale data to “die for”).

That monitoring showed there was a total of 26 million plants on site….1643031615694

That was October….

Then came 105mm of rain across November, (which I reckon would’ve doubled the number of plants to 50 million…) & now, these past 4 days, another 50mm.

☔️☔️☔️☔️ = 🌱🌱🌱🌱

Let’s stick with 50 million plants, (there’ll be far more but…) & go with a seed production of 10g each (on average).

I love doing these sums, so I got to it.

50 million x 10g = 500,000,000g = 500 tonnes

I’ll say that again; 500 tonnes of seed produced by 50 million plants across 320 hectares…

Wanna know the value of 500 tonnes of arid zone, salt tolerant seed? 🤔

Our current per tonne price (with a 40 species mix) is $150/kg (& that’s way cheap compared to our competition)…

So….

$75 million; yep, clean your glasses folks; $75,000,000 worth of seed….

This will be produced for zero outlay, (because we were able to choose & seed our preferred mix of colonisers 4 years ago on the Ash Dam).

Think of how much leaf litter & (inevitable) dead plants all this seed will produce; the leap in carrying capacity; the extra amount of beetles, ants, wasps, bees, termites (earthworms?), spiders, lizards & small flycatcher birds this seed will enable..

How much soil will be made from this eruption of productivity?!

How much faster will the growth of shrubs & trees be because the soil is so supercharged with captured moisture & nutrients catalysed by this rain & all these colonisers?

And what would be the carbon value of this supercharged productivity?

Huge, potentially destructive amounts of rain in the arid zone can be captured, tamed & turned into value; both carbon & ecological.

Oh, so much to ponder, (& to challenge current restoration thinking with!).

Thoughts? 🤔

 

 

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Our unique approach to revegetation involves a ‘ground up’ methodology, which floods a site with seeds of native colonising species. The use of colonising species provides rapid site stabilisation and initiates the process of recovery to build ecosystem function. These species add organic carbon to the soil, attract invertebrates, deposit seed, compete with weeds and provide cover. Colonising species in the arid zone can reproduce within 6–8 weeks of rainfall, bolstering the seedbank. These attributes provide a great catalyst for building ecosystems in the arid zone.

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