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Desert or Paradise: Restoring Endangered Landscapes Using Water Management, Including Lake and Pond Construction Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1603584647 ISBN-10: 1603584641

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Desert or Paradise: Restoring Endangered Landscapes Using Water Management, Including Lake and Pond Construction + Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening + The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach
Price for all three: $59.92

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (November 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603584641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603584647
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

ForeWord Reviews-

"Many climatologists are concerned that the recent spate of drought across several parts of the world is likely to become the new normal, which would prove particularly challenging for farmers, but will also affect everyone from city planners to rural landowners. Creating well-regulated water usage systems and better agriculture production methods are crucial for preventing widespread collapse or water shortages, and Sepp Holzer’s excellent thoughts on the topic provide a handy guide for the type of solutions that are needed.

Well known in the field of sustainable agriculture, Holzer first introduced his innovative water-retention ideas in Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture, a handbook of small-scale, integrative farming techniques that drew on Holzer’s experience as a farmer in Austria. Much like that useful volume, Desert or Paradise contains a wealth of practical tactics that can help prevent desertification, reverse poor water policies, and even create areas rich with orchards and crops.

In his new book, Holzer offers examples from countries like Russia and Portugal to demonstrate the breadth of landscapes that can be healed with a greater emphasis on natural water management. He covers an immense range of topics, including using pigs to restore forest-fire areas, constructing ponds with proper shallow zones, restoring hydrological balance in the world, and abolishing industrial livestock farming. Despite the wide range of topics he covers, Holzer creates a cohesive, well-argued, and persuasive handbook that aims to help people “restore paradise.”

For Holzer, restoring the earth’s balance isn’t about economic development and squeezing a few more seasons out of an exhausted stretch of land. It’s about a long-term and beneficial view of the world as a resource. He encourages farmers to become rebels, gardeners to become advocates, and everyone to become more self-reliant and community-minded.

In a lively, accessible style, Holzer manages to address the issue of endangered landscapes while offering guidance to the home gardener and small-scale farmer. By blending big-picture thinking and achievable local-level results Holzer elevates his book far above a how-to or polemic. He seems the voice of reason in a world where a disconnect from nature is imperiling land, water, and people."

About the Author

Josef ("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 (1,100 to 1,500 meters above sea level) after being unsuccessful with regular farming methods. Called the "rebel farmer" because he persisted in these practices despite being fined and even threatened with prison for practices such as not pruning his fruit trees (unpruned fruit trees survive snow loads that will break pruned 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. He has also done original work in the use of Hugelkultur and natural branch development.

He is conducting 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, including 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 permaculture activist in the established agricultural industry and works internationally as adviser for ecological agriculture. He is the author of Desert or Paradise: Restoring Endangered Landscapes Using Water Management, Including Lake and Pond Construction, and Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening.


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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By puke skybarfer on July 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm familiar with Holzer's work from his first book "Sepp Holzer's Permaculture". I felt that this book was an expansion on what he started in the first book so there is a bit of overlap and repeat. I found "Desert or Paradise" a bit slow, he talked a lot about the problems but not a whole lot about solutions. Sure, restoring the hydro-logical balance and putting water back into the area is indeed a solution but i would have liked a little more detail. He gave different examples but they were all basically the same: i built a pond/lake. He only uses 10 pages to discuss how he goes about building these ponds and lakes and at least half of those pages are pictures. I would have appreciated some diagrams or more details. He says start small to experiment and gain experience first (page 66.) Yeah, if the earth is in such ruins as he describes maybe the trial and error process isn't such a grand idea to fix things. If we are supposed to start small, why not put out plans for something small that people could use on their own property that's more shovel and pickax as opposed to heavy machinery? What better way to start small and gain the experience we need! Maybe it's just me, before i get into the experimenting stage i like to copy someone's example first so i have the basic knowledge and know how down first.

I found this book to be more "new age" then his previous one in that he talks about reading and feeling nature. There is a part where he talks about eating meat and how he feels spiritually clean when eating non-factory farmed meat and feeling just the opposite when eating factory farmed meat. While i have no problem with that, if he wants to convince people and governments to adopt his methods, bringing up "magic" isn't going to convince anyone but hippies.
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Sepp is able to take a degraded landscape, where nothing grows and through building water retention areas like ponds and lakes, brings the area back to life. It is a very advanced form of permaculture that he practices, and it is based on his profound understanding of nature and natural systems all based on his own vast experience. you see, Sepp started doing this as a child in the Austrian Alps. Developing his techniques by watching Mother Nature. Through observation he learned to read what he calls 'the book of nature' and apply those principle to build food forests that are unrivaled. His home high in the alps is a paradise of fruit trees, and other edibles, mixed in with ponds and beds all terraced on the steep slopes of the alps. Meanwhile his neighbors are barely able to grow pine for lumber. It has to be seen to be believed.

This book shows his large multi million euro projects restoring totally degraded areas into paradises in very short time. It gives you the examples and the techniques he uses. Sepp holzer is one of the only people alive who can build ponds and lakes without using a liner or cement, here he shows us how it can be done. Turning deserts into paradises through water retention and habitat regeneration.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary Wether on January 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Apart from being a fascinating story (as his other books are as well); the practical information given, such as how to build ponds so they maintain themselves (long ponds oriented toward the wind, with multiple levels of depth); the shocking story of the desertification spreading across southern Europe; and the sensible, balanced approach to healing whatever bits of nature you can, are more than worth the price of the book.

I suspected the pond I wanted to design was going to turn into a scummy, stagnant mess, but didn't know what to do about it. Now I do.

His explanation of how governments actively create havoc and damage by their policies, and discourage good land management won't cheer you up, but they are informative.

In my own area, homeowners are not allowed to cut more than three 8-inch diameter trees a year without government permission, whether they own 1/10 of an acre, or ten acres. This, despite the fact that the forest is choked and overgrown. The trees are so overcrowded (often only 3 or 4 feet apart) that they are spindly and weak, and we often have forest fires.

All of Sepp Holzer's books are worth having, and keeping on your bookshelf as a permanent reference.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jacob T Wegehoft on December 7, 2013
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So, I bought this book thinking I'd learn plenty of ways to turn a landscape into a catchment system... There was maybe one or two chapters even relevant to the title of the book. Sepp goes on and on about the industrial food system, big corporations, far-out mushroom-shaped..water catchment apparatuses, animal husbandry. What does all this have to do with water management again? Seems like he jammed all these pictures and his opinions on everything in the world into the book just to fill up enough space to boost it up to a really hefty 200 pages of terribly written reading.

I read plenty of books, some which I love enough to buy 2nd and 3rd copies of to give away because I consider them indespensable knowledge. I felt like this book was more or less a total waste of time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DZ on January 8, 2014
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Let me start this review by describing what this book is not. This is not a book that describes how to build a pond. This isn't a book that describes how to grow lemons in the Alps.

The book gives Sepp's principles for restoring land. First, he describes how the land becomes degraded. Secondly, he explains that water is the key to the fix. Thirdly, he describes ways to use the water to effect change.

There are diagrams and real world examples. Sepp also gives instructions for building equipment he uses, such as the monk, ring waterer, etc. Example plans for a farm are given.

This is a great book. My only knock against it would be translation. The english is muddy in a couple places.
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