Agroforestry and salt-tolerant trees rehabilitate saline soils
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CTA. 1991. Agroforestry and salt-tolerant trees rehabilitate saline soils. Spore 36. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45637
In India a mixture of trees and grass is proving to be an effective way to make saline soils productive. If the right species are grown useful quantities of firewood and forage can be produced. There are more than 900 million hectares of land around...
In India a mixture of trees and grass is proving to be an effective way to make saline soils productive. If the right species are grown useful quantities of firewood and forage can be produced. There are more than 900 million hectares of land around the world whose production is affected by salt or high alkalinity. Most of this land is abandoned and produces nothing. For the last ten years however, researchers at the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute of India have been looking at agroforestry as a system that could make these areas productive. Since 1984 they have been running a trial with trees (Prosopis juliflora) interplanted with Karnal grass (Leptochloa fusca). Over a four-year period the grass was cut 15 times and yielded over 46 tonnes of forage per hectare. The Prosopis yielded nearly 8 tonnes of firewood over the same period. At the end of four years the grass was roughed under and replaced by less salt-tolerant but more palatable fodder crops such as Trifolium and Medicago. Yields of these proved to be as good as when they are grown on normal soils. At the beginning of the trials the pH of the soil was 10.3 but at the end of the four year period it had dropped to 9.4. Central Soil Salinity Research Institute Karnal Haryana 132001, INDIA Scientists in Australia who have also been testing tree species that will tolerate saline or waterlogged conditions have collected red river gums, paper barks and she oaks that already grow under these conditions in Australia. At the same time they have tested a wide range of other species, including more than 100 species of eucalyptus, casuarina, melaleuca and acacias to see which of these can tolerate saline soils. Seedlings of trees that survived were singled out and cloned and some have gone to farmers in Australia for further trials. In addition some have gone to Namibia, Morocco and Mexico. Western Australia has nearly half the 32 million hectares of Australian land which is saline. The Western Australian government is now launching a tree planting programme using eucalyptus on saline soils and hopes that within 5 to 6 years the trees will be producing high quality paperpulp. University of Western Australia Nedlands, Western Australia, AUSTRALIA 6009