Scientific research

Growing poplar trees on saline and waterlogged land

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

Establishing of forest strips from salt-tolerant poplar species in a complex with construction of a small drainage network for disposal of groundwater provides decrease of waterlogging and soil salinization.

Brief summary of technology:

The technology is developed by the forestry chair of the Kirghiz Agrarian University based on earlier existing technologies and was applied for the first time in the conditions of soil secondary salinization and waterlogging. The farmer established poplar plantations, which are tolerant to soil salinization, and used interrow spacings for cultivation of forage crops.

The contents of activities for organization of planting is as follows:

Site preparation. Drainage ditches along the field edges and in the middle of the waterlogged sites were made at a distance of 50 m from each other in the entire field length to discharge excessive groundwater into the depression areas. Drainage ditches were made using ditch-maker KZU-05 on a base of the MTZ-80 tractor. Depth of ditches is 0.5 m.

Preparation of saplings. During autumn, after drying of an arable layer, soil was plowed to a depth of 30-35 cm. In early spring after soil drying, harrowing of ploughed soil and furrow making in a distance of 70 cm was conducted, in which poplar cuttings were planted at a distance of 10-15 cm so that 1-2 buds remained above topsoil. Moderate-rate irrigations were carried out in case of a decrease of soil moisture.

Poplar planting. The next year poplar saplings were planted in the prepared site by strips 3-5 m wide, with 1 m distance between rows in a strip and 0.5-1.0 m between the saplings. The distance between poplar strips was 10 to 15 m, and was used for alfalfa cultivation. It is assumed that the soil will be salt free and  becomes suitable for crop production in 10-12 years. 3200 saplings were planted on 1 ha of the land, which were produced in 0.1 ha. In total 11200 poplar saplings were planted.

Location: Besh-Teren village, Moscow district.

Area of technology application: 5-15 ha.

Stage of intervention: alleviation / reduction of land degradation.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

Secondary land salinization and waterlogging because of poor maintenance of drainage systems. Drainage ditches are filled with silt, overgrew with weeds and reed and function at substantially reduced capacity.

Crop productivity is decreased by more than 50%, and costs of production increased twice

Main technical features of technology:

Improvement of soil cover, increase of soil fertility, decrease of waterlogging and salinization, increase of biodiversity.

Type of land use Conservation measures

Mixed land.

Agroforestry: arable land and trees - Сл(Mf).

Vegetation measures:

В1: Covered by trees and bushes (forest belts).


Habitat Anthropogenic environment

Average annual rainfall: 380-430 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 500 m.

Landscape: plain.

Slope (%): gentle (2-5%).

Soil fertility: moderate.

Humus content in arable horizon: low, <1%.

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: moderate.

Size of land area (ha): 5-15 ha.

Landholder: moderate / small scale farmers.

Land ownership: individual and state.

Water use rights: through WUAs and organizations responsible for management of irrigation systems on relevant payment.

Market orientation: subsistence farming (self sufficiency), free market.


Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- technology is simple to implement, low cost;

- reduces land salinization and waterlogging;

- increases productivity;

- construction material are produced, additional benefits can be obtained.

Main disadvantages:

Acceptance/adoption of technology: is positively accepted by farmers and households. There is a spontaneous application of technology.

Reference(s): Traditional knowledge in the field of land and water use. The information collection, Dushanbe, 2006. Published by the “Fund of support of civil initiatives” non-governmental organization of the Republic of Tajikistan, which was the member of the international network of NGO on coping against desertification (a RIOD network) and the coordinator of the RIOD network on implementation of KBO provisions in Tajikistan.

Contact information of the “Fund of support of civil initiatives” non-governmental organization: 73a-19, Shotemur str., Dushanbe, 734002 Republic of Tajikistan. Tel./Fax: +992 (37) 2215857. Email:

Name of person (s) collected this description: Tatyana Hamzina, Chief specialist on soil reclamation studies and irrigation regime. UZGIP LTD.

Address: 44, Navoi str., Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Tel.: +998 90 9945654.





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