The Green Deserts mentioned in LIFE publication on Climate Change & Adaptation

The EC just published an extensive study on the contribution of LIFE projects towards Climate Change & Adaptation. Our project was mentioned in the Water efficiency section. The reference to our project can be found below:

The need to improve cultivation techniques is perhaps more apparent in dry areas where the impact of climate change is already visible. As its name suggests, the Green Deserts project aimed to apply new planting techniques in desertified areas of Spain. By combining these techniques with an innovative water box technology (Twinboxx), it showed that even unpromising land could be made productive.

The boxes, which hold 25 litres of water, offer a novel way of planting trees that avoids the need for irrigation. A wick below the box ‘leaks’ the water slowly to the plant’s roots. “It basically restores the capillary function and forces the plant to grow deep roots anchored in the soil,” explains project manager Sven Kallen. Survival rates of round 80% were achieved without irrigation since the box captures rainwater and dew. “After one or two summers the box can be taken off for re-use in another plantation as the roots will have grown deep and wide into the soil where it will further develop thanks to the restored capillary action,” Mr Kallen adds.

Restoring desertified areas is particularly effective for tackling the problem of climate change. The restored areas serve as “green barriers” to further erosion and allow more rainwater (especially from extreme rainstorms) to be absorbed. Trials with cash crops (trees for timber, cherries, almonds, pistachios etc.) showed the economic viability of the project’s method. Tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers also have been successfully cultivated in very arid areas in this way.

Click here for the complete study.