Frequently Asked Questions
What is difference between NSF and other sustainable land practices like organic farming and permaculture?
There are similarities, but NSF focuses on the movement of water and fertility through and over the landscape. NSF looks upon micro and macro systems and how they relate. Organic is a term for a particular type of chemical-free farming with no set restrictions on regenerative outcomes
Can NSF be used on steeper land?
Yes, it can be. Contours of any description can be used to slow the flow of water. NSF aims to move water and fertility from the low points to the high points, so in the situation of steeper land from an area such as a gully to the ridgeline, therefore distributing fertility such as mulch or hay from low points (filtration) to the high points (accumulation zone).
Is NSF similar to “Keyline”?
Keyline farming is an engineered irrigation system whereas NSF aims to reintroduce natural landscape function.
Does NSF work where there is no river or creek?
Yes, wherever rain falls or water and plants exist NSF is applicable, whether it be your backyard or the desert.
How can I develop my farming system whilst incorporating weeds (repair plants)?
In any system, whether it be it cropping, grazing etc. we must have plants that are able to cycle nutrients. Repair plants do this for no added cost and we must be able to find a way to utilise these plants in our farming systems.
E.g. a cropping system can use alley farming (promoting diversity in intermittent strips within a monoculture) and grazing can be done by simply adding a rotational system that allows the maximum biodiversity of plants within the landscape. Animals in a grazing system know what they can and can’t eat. For example, what to one animal is a poison, to another animal could be a medicine, and to another animal a food source.
What is a step?
A step is a change in height from one point to another formed as a result of moving water and plants. These steps are a critical point in understanding how a landscape functions and therefore how to rebuild a degraded landscape.
How long will it take for NSF to change my landscape?
For NSF to repair a landscape it can be as quick as the next rain event.
Are the artificial structures used in NSF sustainable?
Only if plants are involved. NSF involves chain-of-ponds systems that are sustainable as long as plants exist. They are designed to duplicate the natural development cycles that were already present in natural functioning systems.
Can native plants be used exclusively?
No, the native plants that we know of today existed in a system that functioned. Now that we are in dysfunction our degrading landscape requires plants that can repair function in otherwise adverse conditions and in time create conditions that are more favourable for the natives.
Can NSF be used in an urban landscape?
Yes, NSF is capable of being used in a system from micro to macro in size.
What is the economic viability of NSF?
The environment relies on recycling energy produced by photosynthesis e.g. a rainforest increases its biodiversity and productivity by recycling that energy in very short cycles.
Industry assesses economic potential by costing materials into the factory; the cost of production in a factory; then sale and profit margin of products.
Accountants assess agricultural production by examining the last five or ten year’s production. This method is assessing an environmental mining operation and makes no attempt to assess reserves or aspects of sustainable production.
NSF relies on the cost-free environmental functions of accumulating organic reserves to increase fertility.
This landscape was able to withstand megafauna in the past and with NSF we may be able to recreate a landscape that can withstand hard-hoofed animals