Loved this story and the potential for recovering deserts;
01/21/06 - Invention of 'Alternative Soil' to reclaim deserts
The "Alternative Soil" invention by two UAE engineers, Hadi Al Mansouri
and Khalid Mubarak Saeed is considered as a major break-through in the
science of agrology. It is crucial for the agricultural development of
the country not only because it will curb desertification but also
because it will lead to reclamation of vast barren areas which are now
lost to aridity and desertification. The innovation is the first ever of
its kind in the world.
"In simple terms, the alternative soil is derived from a technical
treatment of tree, plant and household waste by adding substances that
enable the soil to enhance its fertility and keep up to 80 per cent of
its irrigation water for as longer period as possible", said Khalid
Mubarak Saeed, a co-inventor. He revealed that the invention was
announced after laboratory experiments that achieved excellent results.
These results, he added, proved that the alternative soil far
out-performed even the most fertile of soils, including clay soil that
is usually found on the Nile Delta. It is environment-friendly and viable.
It is also easy to produce in the sense that you only need to transfer
red soil from Al Ain, for example, to any part of the UAE. All that you
need to produce this soil is mixture of paper, wood, plant and
agro-wastes, in addition to some chemical substances. A treatment of
these elements produces alternative soil".
Al Mansouri told the Abu Dhabi-based "Al Assima Magazine" that the
technical features of the alternative soil are that it tends to be
solid, a solidity that enhances the fabric of subsoil and thereby
prevent sand movement.
Lack of sand movement is a key factor in stiffening the soil and
therefore curbing desertification, explained Al Mansouri. "This
pioneering invention could be used to improve various soils, including
saline and clay soils.
We have reached conclusions that it is only the ecology that determines
fertility factors of the soil. When we conducted experiments in
high-saline and clay soils, the results were impressive. Even in
environments where temperature was 47 degrees, the performance of
alternative soil was excellent.
If land reclamation was seen in the past as an expensive project, it
will now become very easy with this new technology. All that is needed
to reclaim a land is to cover it with a layer of alternative soil that
has a thickness of just 3 centimeters.
After a period of between 2-6 weeks, an another layer will begin to form
as a result of many factors. This new layer will be fertile for
agriculture. It will continue to grow as it is nurtured by plants' roots
until its thickness reaches 10 centimeters".
Apart from the enormous benefits of land reclamation and desertification
stoppage, the invention will enable UAE farmers to lessen if not abandon
the use of fertilisers.
Jerry Decker - http://www.keelynet.com
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