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Ordos Narisha Desert adopts various measures in ecological restoration

September 7, 2017 13:03




Narisha means the place where the sun rises or pine trees in Mongolian. In the old days, Ordos Narisha Desert was covered with tall sand dunes. In 2011, it was included into Phase V of Elion's Kubuqi Desert eco-restoration project. And different measures have been adopted in desertification control.

Water bottle planting method: fill up 500 ml bottle-shaped containers with water, put seedling into the bottle and seal off the bottle and place it underneath sand. The seedling, upon absorbing water in the bottle, sprouts and takes root, the side root sticks into the wet soil layer of the desert, and the seedling lives. With a survival rate is over 85%, the technology was extensively used in early 1990s.

Water-conserving container planting method: the water-conserving container is made from pulped straw and is shaped like a cut-open tire. The trench gets to maintain water and two thin threads slowly imports water into tree roots acting like a siphon to increase the survival rate of seedling. The container itself is biodegradable and can be used as fertilizer for the plant and also to fix sand. Patent application has been filed as a "planting container".

Water wash planting method: make a 1 m-deep hole in the sand with water pressure and insert seedling into the hole for close contact with sand. This completes the digging, planting and watering steps in traditional planting all in one go and it takes a mere 10 seconds to plant one seedling. The survival rate is over 90%, compared with the around 15% in the past. The new technology has replaced the old "building sand block before afforestation" approach, is 14 times more efficient than manual digging and planting, saving around RMB 800 in grid sand block costs per mu of land.

Twist drilling planting method: also known as "dry method planting" where micro-power is used to power twist drill, then seedling is inserted before sand is reinforced. It takes 30 seconds to plant a tree and survival rate is over 65%. Micro-hole planting minimizes soil disruption and addresses water shortage in deserts. The technology was adopted in 2013 and is still in use, to great results.

Windward slope afforestation technology: plant trees at 3/4 height of the windward slope from bottom up and increase the depth at which seedling is buried to increase survival rate. Once seedling survives, it will block wind erosion on the windward side to allow trees to grow year on year and sand dunes to lower year on year. After 3-5 years, the height of sand dunes could decrease by around 1/3.

Grid sandstorm governance: straws or branches are used to make 1m by 1m grid-like sand blocks. Those made with straws are flat and those with shrubbery branches are three-dimensional. These two sand fixing technologies could fix sand dunes and are widely used.

Licorice semi-naturalized planting: after one year of manual cultivation, planting in the wilderness or centralized planting is conducted and harvest is done in 3-5 years at an income of RMB 400-450 per mu. Vertically grown licorice could cover 0.1 square meter per plant and on adopting the translation method, licorice could grow horizontally and cover 1 square meter of land per plant. Nodule bacteria at the root of licorice have nitrogen fixation qualities and are able to fertilize land and have sand governance abilities.

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