When we came there was a desert, which was documented briefly here. Like a beach looking for a sea. It had been transformed from a mix of lushness at the very top and primarily savannah into what looked “dead” to the unwitting, “killed” by those eminent soil workers called pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus). A tabula rasa, a reboot.
Then things began to grow and we began a journey from Egholt Desert 1, to Egholt Desert 2 to what could become a heath, “en hede”. Shall return to the heritage of heaths at a later point, but could this be the beginning of Egholt Hede (Egholt Heath)…:
At the turn of autumn equinox, there were many inhabitants on the surface, including a very welcome micro forest of artemisia vulgaris (gråbynke), ragwort, feral strawberries, tomatoes and god knows what:
Den Jyske Hede – the heaths of Jutland – outlined by a robot:
“…The heaths in Jutland, Denmark, are located in a temperate maritime climate zone. Here are some key climate characteristics:
- Temperature: Jutland experiences a temperate climate with distinct seasons. Winters can be cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing, while summers are relatively mild with average temperatures ranging from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).
- Rainfall: The region receives moderate rainfall throughout the year, with an annual average of around 700-800 mm (28-31 inches). Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed, but there can be some variation from year to year.
- Wind: Jutland is known for its strong winds, particularly in coastal areas. These winds can influence the microclimates and vegetation of the heaths.
Cultural History and Importance of the Heaths in Jutland:
The heaths in Jutland have a rich cultural history and ecological importance, closely intertwined with human activities and traditions:
- Historical Land Use: For centuries, the heaths have been used for grazing livestock, particularly sheep and cattle. These areas provided a source of sustenance and livelihood for local communities. In permaculture terms, this reflects the importance of integrating livestock into sustainable land management.
- Traditional Farming: The traditional farming practices on the heaths included transhumance, where livestock would be moved between lowland and upland areas seasonally. This allowed the heaths to regenerate and prevented overgrazing. Such practices align with permaculture principles of sustainable land use and ecosystem resilience.
- Cultural Significance: The heaths hold cultural significance in the region. They have inspired folklore, art, and local traditions. The heaths have been portrayed in Danish literature and paintings, contributing to the cultural identity of the region.
- Nature Reserves: Some portions of the heaths have been designated as nature reserves to protect the unique flora and fauna of the area. This conservation effort reflects permaculture’s emphasis on preserving biodiversity and enhancing ecosystem health.
Ecological History and Importance of the Heaths in Jutland:
- Biodiversity: The heaths in Jutland are known for their unique ecosystems, characterized by heathland vegetation dominated by heather (Calluna vulgaris) and gorse (Ulex europaeus). These habitats support a diverse range of plant and animal species, including rare and endangered ones. Permaculture principles emphasize the importance of diverse ecosystems for resilience.
- Fire Ecology: Fire has historically played a role in shaping the heathland ecosystems. Controlled burns, practiced by local communities, help maintain the open structure of the heaths, prevent woody encroachment, and promote the growth of heathland species. This mirrors permaculture’s focus on utilizing ecological processes for land management.
- Carbon Sequestration: Heathlands, despite their relatively low productivity, can sequester carbon effectively. Their deep peat soils can store significant amounts of carbon, contributing to climate change mitigation efforts, which align with permaculture’s ecological sustainability goals.
- Habitat for Wildlife: The heaths provide essential habitat for various wildlife species, including birds like the European nightjar and reptiles like the sand lizard. These areas are valuable for conservation and represent the interconnectedness of ecosystems, a key permaculture principle.
In summary, the heaths in Jutland, Denmark, are characterized by a temperate maritime climate and have a rich cultural and ecological history. They have been shaped by traditional farming practices, cultural significance, and unique biodiversity. Recognizing their importance in sustainable land management and conservation efforts reflects key permaculture principles such as biodiversity conservation, sustainable land use, and ecological resilience…”.