Scientific research

Cultivation of forest plantations in hill slopes using moisture-accumulating trenches

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

Collecting an atmospheric precipitation by means of establishing of artificial trenches on slopes of mountains and hills for creation moisture storages in the soil around root system of the crops planted in a bottom of trenches.

Brief summary of technology:

Moisture storage trenches are used for restoration of the forest on mountainous slopes in rainfed conditions of poor sufficiency of precipitation. High survival of saplings is observed without irrigation, and even in years with little atmospheric precipitation.

The moisture storage trench is made by an single-blade plow (soil is excavated in the direction of the surface slope) or a mounted plough (the top crest of the excavated soil from trench is transferred to the bottom slope). The trench has a triangular form in a cross-section (depth 0.4 m, width of top 0.7 m). A small-length embankment is made on the trench ends at an angle in the slope direction for removal of surplus water. Marking of location of trenches is done perpendicular to the slope. This provides uniformity of water distribution in the trenches. When soil coverage with a grassy vegetation is 60-100% and slope does not exceed 16., the trenches are cut at a distance of 12 m from each other.

Saplings are planted in a trench bottom in the planting holes at a distance of 5 m. The height of saplings should be not less than 50 cm. Saplings are provided with the moisture accumulated in a trench from atmospheric precipitation. Local (Turkmen juniper, Turkmen maple, ordinary almonds) and introduced (eldar pine, western thuja, juniper bush) tree species are used for reforestation.

With a financial support of the project entitled: „Coping with land degradation in three regions of Turkmenistan“ (2002-2007, GIZCCD/NIPRZHM) and with help of the project consultants the group of public foresters of local activists was established for restoration of forest sites around the settlement. All population of the settlement participated in planting of forest trees on 4 ha of the Konegumbez village.

Location: Konegumbez village, Bakharlinsky district, Akhal province.

Area of technology application: 4 ha.

Stage of intervention: rehabilitation / improvement of bare land.

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

Overgrazing of pastures, cutting down of forest and shrub vegetation for fuel and construction led to decrease of water flow in springs and small rivers, increase of mud streams and soil erosion on slopes.

Main technical features of technology:

Managing dissipating surface runoff/reduction of speed of water flow, increase of soil moisture absorption, increase of soil surface cover by vegetation, increase of biodiversity.

Type of land use Conservation measures

Pasture land .

Extensive pasture land - Пэ(Ge).

Vegetation measures:

В1: Coverage with trees and bushes.

Structural measures:

С5: Horizontal ditches/pits.



Average annual rainfall: 250-500 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 1000-1500 m.

Landscape: hillsides.

Slope (%): >25% (hilly).

Soil fertility: moderate.

Humus content in arable horizon: 2.5% (moderate).

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: moderate.

Anthropogenic environment

Size of land area (ha): 2-5 ha.

Landholder: small/middle sized, mixed.

Land ownership: individual 75% and state 25% arable land.

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:

- can be used for restoration of forest areas in rainfed conditions with risky agriculture;

- no need of irrigation of saplings;

- a high survival rate of plants even in drought years  (up to 85%).

Main disadvantages:

- the area of plantings demands protection for 4 years;

- ban on cattle pasture in plantation territories is not beneficial for farmers.

Acceptance/adoption of technology: The technology gained recognition among local population. Three farmers applied this technology for gardening of their households. Some farmers used similar technology (the distance between cutting of furrows is changed) for gardening or planting of almonds near households.

Reference(s): WOCAT Database. Technology code: T_TUM003ru.

Compiled by: Nikolay Zverev. CACILM MSEC. Date: 02.02.2012

Contact person: Abdurakhmanov Kurbanmukhammed.

Address: Konegumbez village, Bakharlin district. Tel.: +80013136413.

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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