Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Soils and Climates of Baja California and the Land of Promise—Part II

Continuing with the last post, regarding: "What modern man often forgets is that seeds in ancient times could not just be uprooted from one climate and region and replanted in another, totally different, climate and region.. Thus, when Lehi brought with him seeds from the land of Jerusalem, he would have needed to plant them in a climate and regiona like that of Jerusalem."

Obviously, from the last post, the Baja California Peninsula simply does not have the same, or even a remotely close, climate, soils, temperature, and precipitation of that of Jerusalem, which was and is a Mediterranean Climate.

Because the Baja California Peninsula was once attached to western Mexico, the Sonoran Desert is found today on both sides of the Sea of Cortes, and most of Baja California is part of that desert

According to the INEGI (2007), 26 out of 30 groups acknowledged by the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (FAO-ISRIC-ISS 1998) are present in Mexico, the dominant types being Leptosols (28.3%), Regosols (13.7%), Phaeozems (11.7%), Calcisols (10.4%), Luvisols (9%), and vertisols (8.6%), which jointly account for 81.7% of the country. Source: Mexico's 2008 State of the environment Report.

Leptosols (from the Greek leptos, meaning "thin"), also known in other soil classifications as Lithosols and Redzones, are extremely thin, rocky and poorly developed soils that may contain a large amount of limestone and are common in the Baja California Peninsula.These are the soils with the largest distribution worldwide and are especially common in mountainous and highly eroded areas. Its agricultural potential is limited by its small depth and high rock content, restraining agricultural practices. Furthermore, calcium contained in them may immobilize mineral nutrients, so that is preferable to preserve the original vegetation, or apply agricultural techniques suitable for these conditions.

Regosols (from the Greek reghos, meaning "mantle" group soil types that cannot be classified within other groups. This soil is particularly common in arid, semiarid (including dry tropics) and mountainous regions. Regosols are frequently associated with Leptosols and rocky or "tepetate" outcrops (brittle volcanic rock). In arid zones, Regosols have a poor agricultural potential, even though their use depends on soil depth, rock abundance and fertility, reasons for which crop yield is highly variable. These soils stretch across the Western and Southern Sierra Madre and the Baja California Peninsula. The commonest varieties are eutric and calcaric Regosols, characterized by a layer known as "ocric" which, upon vegetation clearance, becomes hard and crust-like, limiting plant growth This combination (sparse plant cover plus low water infiltration into soil) leads to superficial runoff and hence, results in erosion.

Calcisols (from the Latin calx, meaning "limestone") are known as Xerosols and Yermosols (Desert Soils) in other classifications. These soils are characteristic of arid and semiarid zones where moisture deficiency prevents leaching of soluble and chemicals like salts and carbonates, especially calcium moieties, which accumulate along the soil profile and from an impermeable layer known as "caliche" or petrocalcic horizon. Calcisols support the development of xerophilous shrubland with shrubs and ephemeral grasses. Their agricultural potential may be high provided irrigation and fertilization infrastructure is available, as well as adequate drainage to prevent salinization and surface crusting derived from salt runoff and high evaporation indices. Calcisols is found mostly in arid, semiarid and subtropical areas in both hemispheres. In Mexico this soil type occurs in the Chihuahuan Desert and in Baja California, Baja California Sur, and several other states.

Top Row: Images of Baja California (Theorists' Land Northward); Bottom Row: Images of Baja California Sur (theorists' Land Southward). These images are very typical of the Peninsula landscape overall--basically a desert where desert plants grow in desert soils

According to Geo-Mexico, the Geography and Dynamics of Modern Mexico, "The Baja California Peninsula is one of the most arid areas in Mexico and water shortages are becoming critical, especially along the southern coastline. Desalination is one viable option to ensure future water security for the region (there are already about 70 desalination plants on the Peninsula). La Paz, the capital of the state of Baja Califirnia Sur, faces a particularly serious water supply problem. The local aquifer is reported to be already over exploited and suffering from salt water intrusions. Because of its great density, seawater normally underlies freshwater in coastal areas...the water supply issues have led to water rationing, in which almost all of La Paz's 250,000 residents receive water only 12 hours or less each day."

In fact, to show how scarce water is throughout the Peninsula, (for the Theorists Land Northward) Ensenada will have a 28-million dollar El Salitral desalination plant on line by the end of this year which will treat 250 liters of seawater a second, and supply 96,000 people with potable water; Rosarita will also bring on line a desalination plant at La Mission large enough to supply the needs of 96,000 people; and at San Quintin, there will be a desalination plant with a capacity of 150 liters a second--(and for the Theorists' Land Southward) Cabo San Lucas opened a desalination plant in 2007 that treats 230 liters a second, equivalent to 5 million gallons a day; Le Paz is trying to bring on line a plant capable of treating 200 liters a second; and Sierra de la Laguna is a proposed site for a Canadian desalination plant, though their essential permit has yet to be approved.

All of this shows the most dire need for water throughout the Peninsula according to OOSKA News Weekly, Water Report for Latin America, 16 February 2011). By way of comparison, while little Baja (33% the size of California, 65% the size of Utah, or 87% the size of Florida) is treating between 22 and 24 million gallons a day, the entire United States treats only between 7 and 8 millions gallons a day, half of which is in the state of Florida.

Even today, in 2012, with all our modern technology, plant management knowledge, and nutrients for planting, we are still told to plant seeds in soils to which they were grown. Purchase any commercial packet of seeds today, and the instructions will tell you that the seeds should be planted in certain climate zones. As an example, Burpee Seed Company states in their internet seed order website: "We include ZONE ranges in our descriptions of hardy plants so you can tell if the plants you choose can survive in your location or the location of a gift recipient." They also state: "Plants are adapted to different sun exposures for optimum growth, flowering and fruiting. Planting vegetables, flowers perennials and herbs in your home garden require careful observation of sunlight received through the day and through the four seasons. Soil, water, temperature and light interact providing different microclimates in your garden. Plants are labeled into three groups based on their light requirements." In addition, they had a lengthy description of "Soil Testing" and state: "Fertility is the ability of the soil to supply essential nutrients in available form for plants to grow flower, fruit and maintain good health."

There are generally eight (8) climate zones in the United States for seed planting, with some seed companies adding other zone descriptions, along with sun, soil and climatic requirements. Each seed packet back offers you hands-on information for success with seeds with complete growing instructions, quick view planting charts, growing tips, harvesting information, etc., as well as zones, climate conditions and areas for which the seeds were meant

As can be seen, there is no way that seeds brought from the area of Jerusalem, a Mediterranean Climate, could have survived in the desert land of the Baja Peninsula in 600 B.C. To think otherwise merely shows a lack of knowledge of planting and growing in an era before modern technologies make it possible for most seeds to grow in most climates.

1 comment:

  1. Hi I was thinking of planting some mulberry trees down here near la paz any clue how to get a few saplings