200 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations
Sepp Holzer is renowned the world over for bringing degraded landscapes back to life using his unique methods of creating water retention basins. In Desert or Paradise he inspires us to look beyond previously tried, tired and failed solutions to drought by following his catalogue of successes, furnishing each case study with photographs, illustrations and anecdotes. These restored or newly-constructed lakes not only re-aquify the surrounding landscape to turn back the tide of encroaching desertification, but also support abundant edible landscapes of orchards and crops planted along the banks, and provide freshwater mixed aquacultures.
Desert or Paradise explains why natural water management is at the centre of any earth restoration. Injected with Sepp's unique style and opinions, Desert or Paradise gives hope to those who see an apparently barren landscape as a failure from which there is no return. Sepp helps us move beyond conventional methods that trap us in a cycle of dependence. He offers a wealth of information for the gardener, smallholder and alternative farmer, yet Desert or Paradise s greatest value is in the attitudes he teaches. He reveals the thinking processes based on principles found in nature that create his productive systems. These can be applied anywhere.
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Sepp Holzer was born in the Province of Salzburg, Austria. He is a farmer, author and an international consultant for natural agriculture. He took over his parents' mountain farm business in 1962 and pioneered the use of ecological farming, or permaculture, techniques at high altitudes (1100 to 1500 meters above sea level) after being unsuccessful with regular farming methods. Sepp has been known as the 'rebel farmer' for his persistence despite being fined and threatened with prison for practices such as not pruning his fruit trees. He has also created some of the world's best examples of using ponds as reflectors to increase solar gain for passive solar heating of structures, and of using the microclimate created by rock outcrops to effectively change the hardiness zone for nearby plants. Sepp conducts permaculture ('Holzer Permaculture') seminars at his farm and worldwide, while continuing to work on his alpine farm. His farm now spans over 45 hectares of forest gardens, with 70 ponds, and is said to be the most consistent example of permaculture worldwide. He is author of several books and the subject of the film The Agricultural Rebel. He works nationally as a permaculture activist in the established agricultural industry, and works internationally as adviser for ecological agriculture.