Scientific research

Bio-drainage – an alternative method of reclamation of waterlogged land

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

An approach to lower groundwater levels by means of forest plantations, which intercept infiltration water and groundwater by roots and spend them for transpiration.

Brief summary of technology:

A high biodraining ability of a poplar to lower groundwater levels and prevent soil waterlogging is used in this technology.

In this approach land preparation for poplar planting includes: plowing to a depth of 35-40 cm, harrowing, removing roots of perrenial weeds and field leveling. After field leveling planting is carried out in late autumn or early spring in March - April. Distance between the trees and the rows is 1 m. The distance between the strips is 1 km.

For the best growth and development of saplings it is recommended to apply an organic-mineral mixture into the planting holes at the rate of 1-2 kg per hole. An additional extranutrition of nitric fertilizers with the rate of 30 kg/ha is carried out in July.

Inter-row processing - a hoeing is necessary to carry out during the period of growth and development of saplings to destroy weeds. Pruning is conducted in the early spring of the next year.

Grain and leguminous mixtures are grown in the inter-row spacings of poplar plantations.

As a result of biodrainage activity, a 50-60% increase of productivity of inter-strip spaces is observed in a radius of 1 km. This technology is ecologically and economically profitable. The poplar is a source of household fuel and a construction material. Cost of establishing biodrainage is low being 500-1000 somoni (USD 150-300) per ha.

Location: farm named after Nuriddinov, Bohtar district, Hatlon province.

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:

Low efficiency of the horizontal drainage network, unacceptably shallow, mineralized groundwater levels, high cost of operation of a vertical pump drainage.

Main technical features of technology:

Improvement of soil cover, increase of soil fertility, decrease of waterlogging, 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: 200-300 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 430 m.

Landscape: plain.

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

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: long term lease from government.

Water use rights: state.

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


Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- improvement of properties of waterlogged land;

- source of household fuel and construction material;

- increase of efficiency of inter-row spaces in a radius of 1 km by 50-60%.

Main disadvantages:

Acceptance/adoption of technology: This technology is developed by the scientific research institute of Soil Sciences within the project of the International Center of Agricultural Research (ICARDA) and is now widely applied in the areas of waterlogged land.

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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