Earthworks are often at the base of a holistic regenerative agriculture system. In steep, erosive areas, they provide the foundation from which a productive and restorative food system is borne. In flat areas that suffer from drought or flooding, building microclimates, and intentional layout provide increased growing space. Establishing logical and intentional water landscape features in challenging terrain is critical to the success of plantings, and offers a passive alternative to irrigation.
Earthworks projects can be a logical and holistic solution to a wide variety of situations, and likewise accommodate a wide variety of budgets. Most projects are constructed with hand tools. The same principles that apply to the methods used in farm and homestead scale systems, can prove beneficial in gardens and natural spaces of any scale or condition.
Spring casing is a vital part of a productive homestead. Springs form when water flows over a clay layer, through a permeable layer. They can be found a developed in most humid mountain climates. When cased properly, they can provide a reliable source of pure clean drinking water for generations.
Keyline Design is a method developed by P.A. Yeomans. It encompasses an entire landscape design methodology, the basics of the practice are to use a subsoiler to tear ruts in pasture and orchard spaces to increase infiltration of water and encourage soil building, and distribute water and fertility evenly from the valleys to ridges.
In places with extreme climates and landscapes, such as rainforests that receive large amounts of rainfall in a very short time, may require larger scale earthworks. Structures like terraces, ponds, and spillways can be built with large machines, adding texture to the landscape, and improving the land's ability to retain water and organic matter. When resources are available, these techniques provide a highly resilient and regenerative system.
Coupling these three elements; food forests, earthworks, and regenerative livestock; is the most effective and holistic way to achieve a regenerative landscape. These methods are most notably exemplified worldwide by Sepp Holzer from Austria. Starting from the bottom of the watershed, Holzer uses strategic earthworks to establish a rich and improving canvas on which he manifests abundant and ecologically sound (self sufficient) landscapes.