Actions and means involved:
In order to proof the viability of the new planting technology on a demonstration scale and to assess its results, the project foresees planting of a variety of species on a variety of soil types in lots which range from bare land to mountains to a waste dump (totalling 63 Ha, all located in areas with a moderately dry to extremely dry climate. In order to allow for a proper assessment control groups are foreseen. About half of the saplings will be planted in the first year, the other in the second, in order to compensate for ‘unrealistic’ results caused by a particularly wet year. Particular small saplings will be used (3 cm), which have bigger possibilities for growth on poor soil. In order to test if with the waterbox planting of these kind of saplings would be possible all year round, a small part will be planted in July. As the device has to be placed just below the soil, requiring a small hole, in order to avoid being blown away by the wind, the large scale application of it in dry and rocky areas requires a capillary drill. A prototype of such a drill will be developed in the project, and tested in the concerned areas. Growth will be monitored for 3-4 years: after such period, a tree has passed the most critical part of its life-time and can be considered to have survived.
In order to carry out the demonstration, the following activities and means are foreseen:
1. Species and lots will be characterised and selected by the University of Valladolid, in cooperation with AquaPro and Sylma.
2. Saplings of various species will be prepared by Sylma in greenhouses until they are about 3 cm high, and transported to the different areas.
3. The prototype of the capillary drill will be developed and produced on technical specifications by AquaPro, whose owner is the inventor of the waterbox. A mold for the biopolymer Twinboxxes will be designed and produced, and the necessary 28,100 boxes will be produced on technical specifications of AquaPro.
4. 56,200 saplings will be planted in April and July 2011 and in the same months of 2012. The involved local authorities, Diputación Valladolid and Léon, Municipalities San Mateo de Gállego (Zaragoza) and Riofrio de Aliste (Zamora), owners of the test locations, will take care of this, under coordination of partner Transfer, which will plant one lot itself close to the Barcelona capital. Technical supervision is done by AquaPro, assisted by Sylma.
5. Maintenance, control and technical monitoring activities will be carried out, lasting from planting until half a year before project end. Monitoring will take place by use of loggers, manual bi-monthly checks by the maintenance staff and technical-scientific measurements by the University of Valladolid, AquaPro and Sylma.
6. A thorough technical evaluation of the results will be carried out by the University of Valladolid, assessing for each method, tree and soil the success rate of the technology.
7. Conclusions will be drawn on technical and economical feasibility of the technology for public reforestation interventions, agricultural land restoration, planting of Hedera alongside highways and eco-system restoration. Apart from the technical results, the expected costs in case of industrial production of the Twinboxxes will be taken in consideration, and they are compared to those of traditional cultivation methodologies. This task is done by Transfer.
Alongside these technical activities, dissemination will be carried out on a European scale and local awareness raised in the concerned territories. All 5 test locations will be honoured with an inauguration event in the first year. They will be supplied with information boards and accessible for visitors. Each public authority will organise a series of local awareness actions for its own population. These consist of monthly ‘open days’, ‘educational visits’ for regional primary and secondary schools and ‘special invite visits’ for local farmers’ organizations and regional environmental groups.
Two international seminars for relevant experts from the field will be organised with visits to the test locations in Vallalodid and San Mateo de Gállego (Zaragoza). One final conference will be organised in Barcelona, including a visit to the Barcelona test location. Moreover, a documentary will be produced by AquaPro on the project development, assigned to a renowned filmmaker, in order to assure broadcasting on television. Project partners will present project results on international events dealing with the issues at stake. Media-work will be carried out, with significant use of internet news-sites and social networks. Lastly, a project’s website will be created as well as leaflets and brochures.