Remarkable reforestation in Burkina Faso

In 1988, I was invited by the Dutch Committee Maastricht-Niou to carry out a reforestation project with my team of the University of Ghent (Belgium) in the village of Niou (Kourweogo Province, Burkina Faso). I will describe the success of that project later. Today, attention is paid to a similar reforestation project, set up in 1988 together with the Canadian Cooperation in Arbolle (Passoré Province, Burkina Faso).

It was decided to plant seedlings of a number of tree species with different dosages of TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) on a clayey soil, completely barren in 1988 due to heavy deforestation by the local villagers during the preceeding years.

Start project
Hard clayey field completely denuded, due to firewood collection

First, plant pits were created and the excavated soil was mixed with different dosages of TC to study the optimal dosage under these local conditions. Some plant pits functioned as control plots (no TC was added to the local soil).

1988-07 Participation of local people in plant pit preparation
1988-07 Participation of local people in plant pit preparation

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Use of TC in Beijing 1999 (P.R.China)

Since 1995, the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) has been tested intensively in many locations in the P.R. China. It was successfully used for reforestation, horticulture, agriculture, landscaping, sports turf and some other specific applications, like growing flowering plants in containers and pots.

Map
TC tests located on map of China 1999

A nice test case was the one at the Ministry of Forestry (Hepingli Dongjie, Beijing) were magnificent lawns were installed in front of the main entrance.

Lawns 02
Beautiful lawns

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Growing conifer seedlings in Spain

I already reported on an interesting experiment on growing tree seedlings, set up in Zanona (Cadiz/Andalucia/Spain). You may find this message in the November 2006 postings under Archives.

In May 1995, we showed the effect of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) on seedlings of conifers. Seedlings were acquired in a nursery. Half of them were kept as control plants, the other half were treated with the TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) at a dosage of 5 g TC per kg of potting soil. All plants got the same small volume of water at the same moment, so that a certain hydric stress was created for the seedlings under very dry conditions in this area of Southern Spain.

Six weeks later the dimensions of the seedlings were compared : length of the stem, length and volume of the root system.

Growing conifer seedlings in Spain
Already after a few weeks, a remarkable difference is observed between the TC-treated seedlings (left) and the control ones (right)

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Success with TC in Australia

When preparing for the Olympic Games in 2000, the authorities of the City of Sydney decided to create a dramatic change in certain parts of the city by introducing spectacular plantations of trees, shrubs and flowering plants. To name only two wellknown areas in the city center that turned completely green in a very short period : Cockle Bay Wharf and Darling Harbour. The secret for this fantastic success : the use of TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) in the containers at the waterside of Cockle Bay Wharf and on the roof top of Darling Harbour, where a huge hanging garden was created.

Cockle Bay Wharf became green in some weeks
Cockle Bay Wharf became green in some weeks before the Olympic games

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Success with TC in Algeria

Young Prosopis TC-treated
Just reaching to our knees ! : Young Prosopis 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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Success story with Opuntia in Brasil

Opuntia plantation
Nice Opuntia plantation, excellent yield in a short period

Planting spineless varieties of Opuntia can be very rewarding, not only to combat desertification, but also to produce fodder for animals. These varieties are growing quickly with a minimum of water in the drylands, like the ones in the very dry Nordeste of Brasil (see pictures).

Rows of Opuntia
Rows of cacti contribute to limit soil erosion

Cacti normally have a wide appeal to growers of ornamental plants, but they have only few economic uses. However, many cacti produce edible fleshy fruits (raw, jam, syrup). Some species are used in living hedges or even for furniture. Commercial plantations of the “prickly pear” Opuntia are found in Brasil, Mexico and California.

Rows 2
Rows on the contour lines

The disk- or racketlike, superposed parts of the Opuntia stems can be used as fodder. Goats, sheep and cows eat the fresh disks, cut into slices. One can also have the sliced disks sundried, grinded to flour and mixed with a bit of water for animal consumption.

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Success story with TC in Spain

An interesting experiment

In May 1995 an experiment was set up in Zanona (Cadiz/Andalusia/Spain) to show the effect of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) on seedlings of conifers.

A number of seedlings was acquired in a nearby nursery. Half of them were kept as control plants, the other half were treated with TerraCottem soil conditioner (see http://www.terracottem.com) at a dosage of 5 g TC per kg of potting soil. All plants were watered in the same way (all the same day, all the same small volume of water to create a certain hydric stress for the seedlings under very dry conditions in the area).

Success story with TC in Spain
Comparison of TC-treated conifer seedling (left) with control one (right).

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