Desert Permaculture from the 15th Century
Site location: Le Souf, Erg Oriental, Wilaya d’El Oued, Algeria
Area of GIAHS: 52 911 ha
Population working for this system: 44 968 pers.
Topological Characteristics: non fertile lands with aquifers
Climatic Classification: arid desert conditions
Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: Troude and Adouan communities
Primary Income Sources: agriculture, date palms
In the desert of Algeria, local communities have had to face dry and hot climatic conditions. Thanks to the groundwater deep into the soil, farmers have succeeded in finding dunes and water management to use and conserve it. This is how they have created the ghout system allowing them to grow food plants and livestock from the 15th century.
newsbuoy, I often look to African agriculture for inspiration and find many of their crops work well in the hot climate I live in (sweet potatoes, peanuts). The ghout system seems to be like an apple guild in that the article states (without going into detail) that a number of other edible plants grow around it.
Some real fascinating stuff. Considering the fact that proper utilization and management of water will become increasingly important in the future as droughts intensify, it is always worth taking a look into solutions discovered by desert inhabitants that allowed/allow them to grow crops in such extreme conditions.