Notes to broadcasters
Farmers’ observations play an important role in the study and development of agricultural practices. This script highlights the observations of a group of farmers in southern Mexico. For follow-up programs we recommend that you interview local farmers and encourage them to share their personal observations about the relationship between trees and climate. Often, the stories they tell will best illustrate the principles being presented.
FADE IN THEME MUSIC AND CONTINUE UNDER DIALOGUE.
Today you are going to hear some thoughts about the effect of trees on rain. These thoughts are based on the observations of some farmers in the countries of Guatemala and Mexico.
FADE OUT MUSIC.
Many farmers study the relationship between trees and rain, and they can see that, yes, trees do have something to do with how much rain falls.
Farmers make important observations.
In Guatemala, for example, there are two important zones that farmers observe.
In the first zone, called Peten, there are a lot of forests.
In this forest zone it rains almost 12 months a year.
There is always rain!
Meanwhile, just 100 kilometres away is a region called Poptun which is completely cleared – there is no forest left.
This zone never has rain.
So why does it rain in Peten and not in Poptun?
The farmers believe that the forests attract the rain.
They can see that where there is forest, there is rain.
The rains are not heavy.
Instead there is a constant, steady, light rain keeping the soil wet.
When rain comes first in torrents, and then there is no rain for weeks – well, that is the result of lack of forest.
The farmers tell another story – a true story about two volcanoes, the Volcano of Water and the Volcano of Fire.
The Volcano of Water is covered with trees – there it is always raining.
On the Volcano of Fire, there are no trees, and it doesn’t rain.
Nature presents us with very concrete examples.
Our ancestors told us that the forest is important because if we destroy it, we will never have rain.
It is true – nature proves this time and time again.
How can farmers use their knowledge – this knowledge that is based on their own careful observations.
Some farmers in southern Mexico use it when they design their farms.
Each farmer leaves some forest standing on their land.
This is very important.
On the rest of the farm they plant their regular crops – corn, beans, cabbages, onions and watermelons.
But they ALWAYS leave some forest.
They see so many benefits.
There is more water in the soil.
Fuelwood is always available.
The soil is more fertile.
Some farmers only have a little bit of land, but even so, they leave a part of that land covered with forest.
The idea is to keep trees permanently on the land, so they can provide all the benefits of conserving soil and water, and attract rain to the region.
FOREST SOUNDS (RAIN FALLING FADING OUT INTO BIRDS SINGING).
This ends today’s program. Many of you in the audience will have other important observations to share about trees and climate.
Please share them with us, here at Radio ________.
- Contributed by: Manuel Huz de Leon, Farmer, Oxcutzcab, Yucatan, Mexico. The farmers mentioned in this script have participated in the Kancab Luum Agroforestry Project near the town of Mama, Yucatan, Mexico.
- Reviewed by: Keith Johnson, Designer, Patterns for Abundance, and Assistant Editor, The Permaculture Activist, North Carolina, USA.