Photo WVC 2005-12-RABOUNI-MIN.-SANTE-PUBL-05 copy

Planting tree seedlings with TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC)

Photo credit: WVC 2005-12-RABOUNI-MIN.-SANTE-PUBL-05 copy.jpg

 

Success with TerraCottem (TC) in Algeria

by Willem Van Cotthem (University of Ghent, Belgium)

Photo WVC: 2005-10-RABOUNI-MIN.-SANTE-PUBL-01B.jpg
Photo WVC: 2005-10-RABOUNI-MIN.-SANTE-PUBL-01B.jpg – Just reaching to our knees ! : A young Prosopis seedling treated with TC in presence of the Minister of Public Health of the R.A.S.D. (center) and the Representative of Unicef Algeria, Mr. Raymond Janssens (right).

In 2005, Unicef Algeria invited me as a scientific consultant to study possible improvement of the living conditions in the refugee camps of the Sahraouis people in Southern Algeria (Sahara desert), looking for ways to enhance local food production. The main objective was to look for new possibilities to grow vegetables in small family gardens in the refugee camps in the desert with a minimum of brackish water, taken from the subsoil.

 

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Photo WVC: 2005-12-RABOUNI-MIN.-SANTE-PUBL-04.jpg – Excellent growth of the young tree in 3 months time : from 30 cm to more than 100 cm.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Belgian TC-DIALOGUE Foundation, through which a project was set up to construct a large number of family gardens in different refugee camps. In these gardens, the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) was used to limit the consumption of fresh water for irrigation and to limit the application of fertilizers.

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Photo WVC: 2005-12-RABOUNI-ARBRE-SANS-.jpg – Control plant still small : from 30 cm to 40 cm, although getting the same amount of water as the TC-treated plant and at the same moment !

In agreement with the Sahraouis authorities, first of all a small test was set up in October 2005, in which TC was applied to a young tree seedling (Prosopis juliflora) in front of the Ministry of Public Health of the Democratic Arabic Sahraouis Republic (RASD). Other young Prosopis plants functioned as control plants. As all young trees got the same limited amount of irrigation water from time to time, differences in outgrowth showed the effect of TC.

Pictures taken in December 2005, only 2 months after planting, showed undeniably the positive influence of TC on tree growth : the TC-treated Prosopis (30 g of TC mixed in the plant pit of 30 x 30 x 30 cm) were already remarkably taller than all the control plants. This was a very promising situation in view of possible plantation of fruit trees in the refugee camps (local production of food, fruits, vitamins etc.).

Originally published at:

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2006/11/14/success-with-tc-in-algeria/

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CONTINUED ON JANUARY 6, 2007

On November 14th, 2006, I posted on this blog a short message on the success booked with TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) in Algeria (see above).

I told you that Unicef Algeria invited me in 2005 as a scientific consultant to study possible improvement of the living conditions in the refugee camps of the Sahraouis people in Southwestern Algeria (Sahara desert), looking for ways and means to enhance local food production. The main objective was to look for new possibilities to grow vegetables in small family gardens in the refugee camps in the desert, irrigating them with a minimum of brackish water, taken from the subsoil.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Belgian TC-DIALOGUE Foundation, through which a project was set up to construct a large number of family gardens in different refugee camps. In these gardens, the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) was used to limit the consumption of fresh water for irrigation and to limit the application of fertilizers.

Already in 1983-1992, I have developed a soil conditioning method (called “TerraCottem” (seewww.terracottem.com) at the University of Ghent (Belgium). With this granular soil conditioner one is able to stock a lot of water and nutrients in the rooting zone of the soil and to improve the microbiological activities and the formation of a larger root system. The result of all this : a better plant growth with less water and less fertilizer.

In October 2005, a small demonstration test was set up in front of the Saharawis Ministry of Public Health in Rabouni (Tindouf area, Algeria). One out of 10 already planted seedlings of the Prosopis tree was treated with 30 g of the TerraCottem product. In November 2006, I published a number of pictures showing the effect of TerraCottem (TC) on that seedling (see above).

Today, I am publishing a new series of pictures, showing the remarkable effect of the TerraCottem (TC) soil conditioner on plant growth under dry conditions.

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Photo WVC 2006-05 RABOUNI-01 copy.jpg : Due to construction works, most of the control plants had to be destroyed. Only one control tree subsisted (right one).

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Photo WVC 2006-05 RABOUNI-02 copy.jpg : The two surviving trees : Left, the TC-treated one already 150 cm high and growing higher than the metal fence around it.  Right, the control one only 45 cm high.

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Photo WVC 2006-05 RABOUNI-04 copy.jpg : The surviving control tree : poor growth (15-20 cm in 7 months time).

TC-treated Prosopis

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Photo WVC 2006-05 RABOUNI-05 copy.jpg : The TC-treated Prosopis : splendid growth (120 cm in 7 months).

 

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Photo WVC 2006-12 2006-12-RABOUNI-PROSOPIS-04 copy.jpg : In 14 months time the TC-treated Prosopis is already more than 250 cm high. The Saharawi Minister of Public Health, two of his staff members and two consultants of UNICEF ALGERIA confirmed the remarkable effect of TerraCottem on the growth of this tree. 

 

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Photo WVC 2006-12 2006-12-RABOUNI-PROSOPIS-06 copy.jpg : This beautiful young tree is not watered anymore ! In order to promote stem formation it was decided to prune it.

 

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Photo WVC 2006-12 2006-12-RABOUNI-PROSOPIS-09 copy.jpg : Pruning all lower branches to create better stem formation. All pieces of branches put around the stem on the soil for composting.

 

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Photo WVC 2006-12 2006-12-RABOUNI-PROSOPIS-10 copy.jpg : The TC-treated Prosopis is pruned and ready for continuing its outgrowth.

We had full expectations for a fantastic outgrowth in 2007. The demonstration test was a complete success : with only 30 g of TC soil conditioner and minimal irrigation this young tree reached 250 cm in 14 months. The control plants did not develop well and unfortunately the last control plant died in August 2006.  At the end of 2007 this TC-treated Prosopîs was taller than the walls behind.

This demonstration experiment showed clearly how easy it is to book successes with reforestation if one applies a small quantity of TerraCottem in each plant pit.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.