HOW WE REGENERATE KARST
Follow nature's lead and learn to work as partners.
The most important step is to identify and protect all old-growth cover. This include grassland, forest, shinneries, riparian, and woodlands. THIS IS your green infrastructure, the key to biodiversity and sustained spring flows.
Cedar brush works to slow the rain, cover the ground, and revive the soils. This makes it part of the solution -- we need to learn to work with it, not fight it.
Nature will always try to cover bare ground. Sparse vegetation cover exposes the soil to erosion and water and nutrient losses, especially when exposed to our heavy rains, hot summers, and long droughts.
Instead of burning or hauling away your slash (cut woody brush), arrange it on contour (see contour brakes under mimic) or form small brush piles for wildlife.
Unplugging and fencing off sinkholes will increase aquifer recharge and reduce overland flows. Vegetation cover must be maximized to reduce sediment load into sinkholes.
A form of silvopasture, fire herding strategically moves grazing animals through woodlands and forest to reduce fire risk, improve soil health, and increase biodiversity storage capacity.
Dung Beetles move cow poop into the ground. This improves soil health. Conventional agriculture tends to harm these good guys. We need to support the work they do.
Beavers are nature's civil engineers. Learn to work with beavers to regenerate creeks and rivers and increase groundwater supplies and quality, and reduce downslope flooding.
Fire should not be your primary management tool. Frequent prescribed burns can deplete soil carbon. Avoid burning degraded Texas karst country. Strategic periodic (not frequent) fire could be used for regenerated karst country.
Add materials to jumpstart regeneration for more degraded karst country.
Where there's too much slash, shred it to keep organic matter on site, keep the ground covered, and use it to slow down stormwater flows. Learn how to do it the right way.
Historically, as large herds of White-tailed Deer roamed open prairies, they browsed woody plants to benefit grasses. Today these deer exist in scattered herds in woodlands and forests where they continue to eat emerging browse species. This doesn't help woodlands and forests.
Degraded soils lose most of their natural seed bank when eroded. Adding native seeds to degraded soils will enhance biodiversity over time.
Pasture cropping is the process of over-seeding with aggressive, deep-rooted plants after removing vegetation (such as hay). This process can also be used to regenerate depleted fields.
Use seedlings and cuttings, not larger root-bound container grown plants.
Earthworm castings are jam-packed with nutrients. They can be made into a worm tea that can be spread.
TWEAK SOIL MICROBES
When you remove woody brush such as Mountain Cedars, the soil will favor woody growth more than grass growth. You will need to tweak your soil biome to favor grass over the long-term.
Use methods, tools, and machines to mimic what nature is trying to do.
Texas karst country uses stair-step terracing to slow-down gully-washing rains. We need to install features, such as berms/swales, gabions, and windrows, that mimic this at the smaller scale to hydrate degraded karst country.
In nature, herds intermingle and keep moving. This is nature's way to keep herds and lands healthy.
In nature, there is never just one species of grazer. Integrating multiple species keeps rangelands more healthy.
SPRAY MANURE-BASED MICROBES + MOW
Not every landowner wants livestock on their land. But prairie grasses still need to be managed as if grazers are there. That is, we need to mimic grazing.
Use vegetation and soil microbes to clean up contaminated sites. This is a less costly, greener solution to excavation/fill or covering with imported soil.