Brian Fischer has about 400 hectares of land in South Australia, much of it used to graze sheep. But the state was hit with a wildfire this November, right smack during the dry season, which, aside from destroying almost 90 homes, also exposed delicate topsoil to the elements.
Without grasses and other plants to hold onto the topsoil, and with dry conditions already, Fischer’s land was primed for serious wind erosion which, the Australian government notes, can result in large losses of soil and nutrients from soil – all of which can make bouncing back from a scenario like a fire even harder. And there are the basic problems of having huge amounts of dry soil and dust flying around: respiratory and hygiene issues can run rampant.
Fischer’s solution is elegant and unusual: To stop wind from being able to pick up speed, he created a pattern in his land that presents many different ridges, all at 90-degree angles, a bit like concentric squares, if there is such a thing. That way, wind in any direction can’t go very far before hitting a ridge and slowing down, nor can it ride along the edge of a ridge the way it could with a circular pattern, due to the many corners.
But the pattern is also striking and impressive, which has led publications from the local Weekly Times to The Guardian to, well, us, to admire Fischer’s resourcefulness.