Terraforming - 2 - Arid Non agricultural lands

We have learned that a working agricultural soil can hold around 3500 cubic feet of charcoal per acre very easily. Also, over the centuries we can expect the soil bed to become progressively thicker, removing a lot of carbon below the cropping zone. at least that seems to be what happened in the Amazon.

We are obviously anticipating that this system can be applied to all cropland worldwide and I see little reason to think otherwise. The Amazonian proof is simply too compelling.

The remaining challenge is how to upgrade the status of dry lands currently unable to support agriculture. For every acre of farmland today, we have a matching acre at least of very attractive land that just needs a little water.

We can likely exclude dry grasslands from this quest, because the application of good husbandry will rebuild deep carbon containing soils with little human intervention. The buffalo commons is a great example. As is Central Asia. The only thing that is needed is the judicious use of barb wire.

Which leaves us with the deserts and the near deserts. In my earlier work I described a watering protocol that can make these lands totally accessible. to agricultural practice. It essentially envisaged a solar driven atmospheric water collector that primarily watered an adjacent tree eliminating the majority of any connective infrastructure.

It also made the technical component a simple manufacturing package not too unlike the manufacture of a car. Every part can be progressively be optimized and step by step be brought down in cost. My target cost for a 100 lifer per day device was well under $1000 sooner rather than later. Today a cobbled together package from off the shelf parts would likely be around $10,000. We have a ways to go.

The advantages are huge though.

1 A stand alone unit would require almost no maintenance or care and can be expected to run on automatic.

2 The water supply is continuous rather than sporadic. This means that surpluses will quickly build up and be identified, allowing diversion ultimately into smaller lower areas that can be intensely worked. The surplus can be expected to ultimately recharge the natural water table leading to the establishment of a natural hydrology.

3 The growth of the trees will provide shade leading to a significant drop in local temperature leading to more natural precipitation. Most of the water used daily by the trees will be re expelled into the atmosphere maintaining the natural humidity. This permits the envelop of humid air to be progressively extended into the desert opening up more land.

4 As the woodland is established, ground cover will arise allowing the husbandry of ruminants and the slow reestablishment of a living soil.

5 The farm will also be farming a surplus of direct electrical power and water. This surplus can be used to support other agricultural activities as may be feasible.

The coverage of huge acreages with this type of technical solution can be used to absorb a lot of the solar energy hitting the tropics and semi tropics and could lead to significant cooling. Most of the energy would be absorbed by the trees of course.

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