Contour Harvesting

If the land experiences any runoff during intense rain, then it is advisable to harvest bushes in contour strips to enhance water and nutrient cycling. If some of the cut branches can be placed as filter lines on contour, then the improvements will be speeded up. Grasses will grow more densely underneath the branches, to take over their filtering function as the branches decompose. Any runoff gets slowed down by the filters, thus increasing infiltration and depositing sediment that slightly raises the soil level. This occurs in a self-reinforcing manner as more runoff flows where the grass grows less densely along the filter, resulting in more grass later establishing in the wetter soil there and more of subsequent runoff diverting to sections of the filter with lower grass density. The stimulated activity of soil organisms underneath the filter line further raises the soil level slightly, creating a slight step in the landscape like those that were common in natural rangeland before paths created by animals or vehicles diverted water flow off the rangeland. With cleared contour strips, the tendency will be for animals or vehicles to follow the contour, thus reinforcing infiltration of rainwater.