After some months of asking theoretical questions from Hong Kong, I am now living with my wife on our 14 acre block in Nimbin. I have done the PDC course at the Permaculture Research Institute at the Channon - I learned heaps and have been applying my learnings in the production of my first 18 day compost heap and developing a 10m x 6m vegie plot. After surrounding the plot with a buried bandicoot barrier (immense labour) and a mesh fence, and establishing a first no-dig bed in the plot area, we planted our first lot of seedlings yesterday.
By the way, welcome back Darren from PermacultureBiz - I was wondering where you had got to and missing your informative contributions.
To the question about water and trees: We have a dam not far from the house, fed mostly by a spring which sends water from the top of the block via a tree lined gully. The dam is surrounded by trees - sally wattles, camphor laurel and others. The 'pool in the forest' effect created by the trees is very attractive, BUT ... A local visitor the other day said that the trees around the dam would be taking an enormous amount of water and preventing the dam from getting filled up properly; he said we would be losing more water to the trees than to evaporation, and that we should cut down the trees.
The idea of cutting down trees goes against our current thinking: we are planning to plant lots of trees and to develop a rain forest canopy on the top part of the block and control the weeds and grass.
What to people think about this?
Peter Warne, permaculture beginner at Nimbin, Northern NSW, sub-tropical climate, supposed to get 1500 mm of rain per year, but haven't for 3 or so years.