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27

The old farmers' rule of thumb is that you can harvest a cord of wood per acre per year. (For everyone not in the US, a cord is a unit of measure equivalent to 128 cubic feet of tightly stacked firewood, or 3.625 m3. An acre is about 0.4 hectares. So the rule of thumb corresponds to about 9m3/hectare.) (For anyone questioning the validity of this estimate, ...


26

I was curious about which trees absorb the most CO2 and Googled for this a while back. I found that there are several websites that list trees that are good in absorbing carbon, e.g. this website and this website. Both sites list trees like: Pine (Ponderosa, red, white and Hispaniolan pines) Oake (Scarlet, Red and Virginia Live Oak) Douglas fir Bald ...


19

Basic chemistry here. Plants consume carbon dioxide and water to produce glucose. They then polymerize the glucose to create cellulose. In general, the amount of biomass that a tree produces is dependent on its net carbon uptake. If all you are trying to do is ensure that you take some CO2 out of the air, you want to plant fast-growing trees, ideally ...


17

There was a NASA study that indicates that house plants can indeed help clean indoor air. More recently there was a TED talk where the speaker indicated that just three types of plants are needed: Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) Works well in the day time Great for living areas One needs about 4 shoulder high plants/person Needs ...


16

It's part of nature that the corpses of dead animals are recycled by other organisms. But a corpse degraded by bacteria releases many dangerous toxins, for example botulinum toxin, which can contaminate the water and be dangerous for people and other animals. Please note what happens to the corpse of the animal in the natural environment. Firstly, most of ...


14

In How to Grow More Vegetables, John Jeavons claims you can sustain one person on 4,000 sf (372 m²), with 60% of that space dedicated to interplanted grains and legumes. The rest of the space would be taken up by high calorie root crops (30%) and vegetables (10%). That's with high soil fertility and in a climate with at least a six month growing season, so ...


13

There are many different types of systems. The flood and drain system described by Earthling is one, very popular, style of system. It success is due to the fact that the grow bed where the plants are living is slowly filled, and then quickly drained. This quick draining pulls oxygen into the bed. This effectively is providing three things to the plant ...


13

Composting (to enrich soil and provide fertilizer) and for use as mulching material (to reduce water use and keep weeds down) are actually great ways to reuse these materials — especially if you use them to replace less-sustainable alternatives (e.g. water soluble chemical fertilizers and commercially-farmed mulches).


13

The typical Permaculture approach is to cultivate habitat for animals that will eat the insects. It is hard to say without knowing more about the insects but if they are aphids, maybe ladybugs will be helpful. If they are big beetles, maybe frogs and lizards. And don't forget birds! In general it is important to cultivate habitat first before trying to ...


13

You should figure out why you have so many flies in the first place. If they are reproducing indoors, addressing that source would be far more effective than plants. If they are coming in from the outside, plants might not be your answer either. They are likely to "lure in" as many new flies as they eat, giving you no net benefit. But if you are bent on ...


12

Here are some ways you can help protect your plants from insects: Fertilize and water your plants regularly. Insects are less likely to infest healthy and well-nourished plants. Pull weeds around your plants as well. Insects such as aphids and stinkbugs feed on weeds; if they surround your plants, they're likely to attack them as well. Plant herbs and ...


11

I'm assuming you already have insulation and a support panel in place on your roof's structural beams. Now, the function of the first layer you add is to make the roof water- and rootproof. Personally, I think the best sealing is simply one layer of EPDM which you can order in the larger DIY stores (at least you can here in the Netherlands). You simply ...


10

Jon Seymour, in his book The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency, mentions that 5 acres (about 2 hectares) of good quality, well drained land could sustain a family of 6 persons. The answer to the question will partly depend on whether or not one chooses to consume meat and dairy products and whether or not the land should also provide timber for energy. ...


10

While wood-burning fireplaces have a shorter carbon cycle than coal and gas derived heating and help you to get off-the-grid, they are in no way "clean". The pollution emitted from a domestic fireplace is much worse than the equivalent pollution emitted from dedicated power generation plant for the same amount of heating. The pollution is also local to ...


10

A forest of old trees sequesters more carbon per year than a forest with the same quantity of young trees. When I first saw this question I thought I knew the answer -- trees grow faster when they're young, therefore they sequester carbon at a higher rate. When I went looking for the data to back this up, I found that this is still a somewhat controversial ...


9

Something that doesn't break down fast -- like pine needles/leaves -- sounds like a great candidate to use as mulch. Since they break down slowly and will slightly lower the soil pH, so you might want to use them around perennial, acid-loving plants like blueberries or azalea-family shrubs (as opposed to using them around annual, neutral-pH plants like in ...


8

That very much depends on how good a gardener you are. At least the following factors come into play soil fertility weather (esp. sun & rain) length of planting season I remember a quote from Bill Morrison I heard from a recorded lecture that, with permaculture methods, one can sustain a family (2 adults, 2 children) on 50m² (with around 2 hours of ...


8

Depending on the size of the animal, you can try hot composting it. This should keep any toxins out of the water supply, while also giving you a good fertilizer. The basic steps are start with lots of wood chips. You want a base layer of at least 18 inches. (Again it depends on the size of the animal, larger animals need a larger base.) Add the animal ...


8

Trees absorb carbon dioxide to grow and build biomass. If you want to absorb much CO2 you need a tree that grows fast at your local conditions - consult with your gardener about that. Note that this will not solve problems with other pollutants, and will only put a rather symbolic dent into wordwide CO2 emissions.


8

Ecologists refer to this as 'gross productivity' and define it to be dry weight plant matter per area per year. In temperate climates this is likely to be a grass. Switchgrass has been proposed as a bio feedstock, both because it's highly productive, and the plant pulls most of the necessary trace nutrients back into the roots in fall. Poplar and willow ...


7

As with virtually anything in Permaculture the answer is going to be, "It depends." What resources do you have on hand? What are you willing to do? Are you wanting a fix for "right now" or are you wanting something more long term? The answer, in general, is going to be compost. Depending upon how it's made, what is in it and where it's from that's ...


7

You cannot possibly keep up with the fly population with carnivorous plants. Your typical venus flytrap will handle 2-3 flies a month. I raised carnivorous plants as a kid. Managed to get my flytraps to bloom and produce seed. In fall I would catch 30-40 flies, and freeze them for winter use. HI is correct. Some of the largest ones could handle a fly,...


7

In my experience plants suffer in the long term from accumulation of salts in the soil, so fresh water would be better than reusing the water. Even better would be to get hold of fresh rain water (tricky in an apartment though, unless perhaps you have a balcony that gets rained on) for watering them, as that won't contain the salts that tap water does. More ...


6

Almost any plant will pick up particulates on its leaves (as permaculturists will tell you this is actually one of the functions of a leaf) so some things to think about would be: Can you spray the plant down periodically? Most of the time, leaves function in part to trap particulates that can then be channeled down to be food for the plant (this comes up ...


6

True sustainability is not dependent on outside sources. Try to learn the art of coppicing for fire wood, along with growing self propagating plants such as black locust which grows fast and produces more saplings along the root system and then can be cut for wood within a year or two. You would not need to purchase trees often once the coppice method is ...


6

Figures for land area have been stated, it is perhaps important to consider where that land is, its inherent soil quality and type, inclination towards the sun, altitude and longitude, precipitation - or available atmospheric moisture to be extracted - and short, medium and long term long term climate conditions. That's one heck of a lot of variables to ...


6

As LShaver writes, larger trees sequester more carbon than smaller trees, but only if they are still growing. In a "fully-grown" forest (as per the title) that process has ended — decay and regrowth are in equilibrium. Fully-grown forests are carbon-neutral. All of them. The Amazon rainforest — all 5,500,000km² of it — is carbon neutral. If you plant a ...


5

You can use leaves in vermicomposting as bedding and for extra layers between kitchen scraps.


5

The design may vary, but I am familiar with the following system: The vegetable beds are filled with clay pellets (which do not retain much water) and the vegetables are planted inside the pellets. A pump continuously pumps water from the fish tank into the vegetable beds. Only when the beds are almost full with water do the roots touch the water surface. A ...


5

The factory will pollute much more than can be undone by planting trees (up to a reasonable number). Any approach that reduces the pollution of the factory will be more effective than planting trees as counter-measure. It is true, however, that, say, a forest around the factory would help clean the air and absorb much of the pollution, so that planting ...


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