The Vegetable Garden

Restore Basic Life-Supporting Systems - page 4

The only way to keep an ecosystem alive and healthy is to make sure the basic life-supporting systems - water, air and soil - are intact.  This applies to any patch of land, whether it’s a native forest, a farm or an urban garden.  Every ecosystem is just a smaller part of a larger ecosystem.  In fact, the whole planet could be referred to as a single ecosystem.  What we do on a local level may only cause a tiny effect, but if a significant number of local people start doing the same thing, then it will cause an effect on a slightly larger scale.  If this is replicated on a big enough scale, then eventually, our actions can affect an entire planet.

There is no buffer that can protect you from the global breakdown of the basic life-supporting systems - water, air and soil.  However, you can cause an effect on your immediate surroundings.  To restore our basic life-supporting systems - water, air and soil - we need to increase the number and diversity of biological components.  Diversity is the answer.  Remember, an ecosystem has millions of components, systems and sub-systems operating in a given area.  These systems need each other for their survival.  We can add diversity to our backyards and farms in the form of plants and animals.  Once we start to add biological components, they will start to support more biological components.  The addition of biological components, in the form of plants and animals, will start to build soil.  This in turn will slow down the flow of water and keep it in our property.  Trees and other plants will reduce and capture water lost from ground evaporation, mulch soils and create niche spaces for more life-forms.  Your property will be better regulated in terms of temperature and humidity.  It will be cooler in summer and warmer in winter.  This, in turn, helps the plants to yield more, creating more biomass and better soil.  There will be more opportunities for life forms and the basic life-supporting systems; water, air and soil will be more supportive and better able to meet your needs.  As these basic systems become healthier, more sub-systems will appear.  Systems within systems will start to rev up and biological components (plants and animals) will increase in number, diversity and health.