I’m currently studying for a civil engineering degree and writing a research project on how natural flood management and its implementation in rural areas. I’m focussing in on what is preventing the implementation and expected outcomes in a social, economic and environmental context of natural flood management. The greatest barriers to its widespread implementation is that it is not in a traditional farmer’s interest to lose productive land and replace it with trees.
The natural flood management techniques generally used are to return farmland to natural managed woodland, focussing on riparian buffer zones and depressions in fields. From what I have learnt permaculture would suggest that planting a selection of fruit trees in these areas would provide a yield and perform the same flood reduction qualities as ‘natural woodland’.
Has anyone here had any quantifiable data taken from their permaculture sites that would suggest this and is sourced in such a manner as to be presentable in a scientific report?
or does anyone have any useful comments that will help me decide whether I can argue that revolutionising agriculture to permaculture would affect flood characteristics?
Check out some of the work done by Brad Lancaster: http://www.harvestingrainwater.com
He also has some videos on youtube; just looking at the plants on his property compared with those on his neighbors property should be enough to get your gears rolling. He provides detailed explanations in some of his videos as to the reasons and effects of his passive water harvesting systems, which are visibly evident as well. Good luck– we need to revolutionize conventional agricultural practices yesterday. There may not be much “scientific” consensus (maybe because most of the prominent studies were funded by those with interests in maintaining the conventional agricultural system), but anyone with eyeballs and an honest questioning mind can see what the truth is.