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Biomass Production and Carbon Sequestration by Cultivation of Trees under Hyperarid Conditions using Desalinated Seawater (Sewage Water)


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Ohlde, Gerhard W.; Stadtlander, Timo and Becker, Klaus (2019) Biomass Production and Carbon Sequestration by Cultivation of Trees under Hyperarid Conditions using Desalinated Seawater (Sewage Water). Journal of Agriculture Food and Development, 5, pp. 33-42.

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Online at: https://jafdev.com/jafdev-v5a4/


As growing economies – in particular in the Gulf region – use extreme and growing amounts of desalinated seawater for municipal purposes the use of produced waste waters is in the focus of science.
The fixation of atmospheric carbon-dioxide by a safe cultivation of trees using this slightly salty water sources is of increased importance in times of ongoing climate change.
Unfortunately, existing research relies on irrigation of trees in arid lands using ground water, any kind of precipitation, seasonal events like river flooding or a mix of them. To date no data support the biomass or tree production in total absence of natural precipitation and complete lack of ground water.
In this study, seven timber and fuelwood tree species, namely, Eucalyptus occidentalis En., Eucalyptus tereticornis Smith, Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh., Eucalyptus gomphocephala DC., Eucalyptus grandis Hybr. Hill ex Maid, Tamarix aphylla (L.) Karst., Tamarix nilotica (Ehrenb.) Bunge were tested for carbon sequestration and biomass-production. Above-soil and sub-soil parts were determined under two levels of drip-irrigation water supply: 25% and 50% of Evapotranspiration (ETo) over a period of two years and four months from planting to harvest. The trees were cultivated under hyper-arid climatic conditions using brackish irrigation water (3.5 dS m-1) on a research and development station in Arava, Israel.
Purified waste water from a seawater desalination plant (reverse osmosis) was applied after municipal use.
Eucalyptus gomphocephala DC. delivered the highest yields and had the highest water use efficiency, producing 70 t of Dry Matter (DM) /ha/a under the higher irrigation level. Compared with the other species, E. gomphocephala DC. showed a 32% to 65% superior performance . Whereas, lower amounts of saline irrigation water were favoured by E. camaldulensis and T. aphylla – both producing more than 50 t of DM/ha/a. Nevertheless, Tamarix, as a halophyte specialist plant, needed 30 % less water for this growth.
Both Eucalyptus varieties mentioned before form a closed tree stand and reached a height of almost 10 m, two years after planting. Regardless of the particular use of the produced timber, about 15 – 25% of the trees’ total DM, approximately equal to the carbon-content, remains in the soil as long-term carbon-storage after harvesting the above ground biomass. Fast growing fuelwood tree species ensure a safe long-term biological fixation of carbon Irrigated with small amounts of saline waste water.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Desert, de-salinated sewage water, water-use efficiency, Dry-Matter-production, Carbon-sequestration
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal Husbandry and Breeding
Germany > University of Hohenheim > Institute for Animal Nutrition
Germany > University of Hohenheim > Institute of Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics
DOI:DOI: https://doi.org/10.30635/2415-0142.2019.05.4
Related Links:https://jafdev.com/journal-of-agriculture-food-and-development-volume-5/
Deposited By: Stadtlander, Dr. Timo
ID Code:37364
Deposited On:27 Feb 2020 09:39
Last Modified:27 Feb 2020 09:39
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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