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Agriculture design assignment: Argentina 1 / study of the soils with radar satellite

North West Argentina, not far from the Chilean and Bolivian border.

Les foodingues are heading for an agriculture design consulting on an a 100 000 acres domain. planpgcontour

The purpose is to study the soil with the bioindicator plants, give advice on cattle breeding, 7500 calves and 500 horses, as well as to suggest diversifications. The objective is not to over exploit the place but to bring it back to an economical balance so that it dont looses money. The place has been bought 4 years ago after a long period of errance.

Our first step : check the possible hydro and metal ressources of the under ground.

From Tarrascon in France we consult the data base of the radar satellite of the NASA with our partner geologist : 3 little streams of water, small traces of copper, not much on this side. Underground, nothing viable.


But Alain, the geologist, lead our attention on the other side of the valley… “Have you seen the other side? I have never seen so much water !” A paradise for agriculture.


On the spot it is the absolute contrary : what seemed a dry land, what we are consulted fo, is in fact a green and fertile meadow. But on the other side of the mountain, the vale with the extraordinary water ressources… is a desert.

montagnesacreeseche See the mountain in the back of the panoramic photo? This is what the other side of the mountain looks like.

What happened? Considering the evolution of nature itself, no difference. It is an impressive water collector for which the geologic evolution has been very similar on one side of the mountain and the other.

The only difference seems the use man has made of it. This place has always been well communicated and cultivated by man. Prehispanic caves are all around.

The site has been desertified by a lousy managment of the soil by man:

  1. Agriculture : the cultivating practices of the indians : burn the vegetal covert. turn over the soil, sow, harvest and start all over again. When the land is dead, start all over further down. Let the ground rest a while, but the rain has already taken away the organic matter, the ground is now only laterite, dead.
  2. Cattle breeding : With colonial times lama and alpaca breeding, species that select their menus while preserving a good vegetal covering, these are replaced by cattle and mules for the army, transport and mining. Trees are cut down to get more forage. The amount of cattle increases every day. Overgrazing. The vegetal coverture disappears. The ground is eroding itself. It collapses and you have now a wonderful canyon for tourists.

One more example to show that there is not a single desert in the world which has not been created by man. If you know one please, tell me.

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