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Water-saving techniques for restoring desertified lands: some lessons from the field
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  • Vicenç Carabassa,
  • Daniela Alba-Patiño,
  • Sergio García,
  • Julián Campo,
  • Harrie Lovenstein,
  • Gertruud Van Leijen,
  • Antonio Castro,
  • Francisco González,
  • Gustavo Viera,
  • Dimitrios - Sotirios Kourkoumpas,
  • Argyro Aliki Zioga,
  • Christos Emmanouel Papadelis,
  • Vicente Andreu,
  • Eugenia Gimeno-García,
  • Sven Kallen,
  • Josep M. Alcañiz
Vicenç Carabassa
CREAF
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Daniela Alba-Patiño
Universidad de Almeria
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Sergio García
CREAF
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Julián Campo
Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación
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Harrie Lovenstein
Land Life Company
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Gertruud Van Leijen
Van Leijen Srl
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Antonio Castro
Universidad de Almería
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Francisco González
Cabildo de Gran Canaria
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Gustavo Viera
Gobierno de Canarias
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Dimitrios - Sotirios Kourkoumpas
Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas
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Argyro Aliki Zioga
Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas
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Christos Emmanouel Papadelis
Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas
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Vicente Andreu
Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificacion
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Eugenia Gimeno-García
Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación
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Sven Kallen
Volterra
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Josep M. Alcañiz
CREAF
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Abstract

In the light of the current climate crisis, one of the most serious ecological threats is the increase of desertification. In this context, restoration projects are necessary for reverting land degradation, and nature-based solutions could help them. The Cocoon™ has been designed as a new ecotechnology for improving seedling establishment. The Cocoon consists of a donut-shaped container made out of recycled cardboard that provides water and shelter to the seedling, at least during its first year, which is the most critical for plant establishment. The Cocoon was tested on a variety of soils, Mediterranean mesoclimates, vegetation and land uses that allowed testing the effectiveness of this ecotechnology under different conditions. Six planting trials, five of them in Spain (Canary Islands, Almería, Catalonia and two in Valencia), and one in Ptolemais (Greece), were performed. With the objective of studying its functionality, the survival of the seedlings, their vigor and growth were monitored along two years. In general, the Cocoon has proven its effectiveness by increasing seedling survival compared to the conventional planting system, especially under dry growing conditions (low rainfall, soils with low water holding capacity). The Cocoon also allowed for higher growth of some species (olive trees, olm oaks and Aleppo pines). Moreover, a positive correlation between the rainfall on the site and the degradation degree of the Cocoon device was observed. Overall, the Cocoon becomes more efficient the more arid the climate or the more difficult the growing conditions are.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

26 Mar 2021Submitted to Land Degradation & Development
27 Mar 2021Assigned to Editor
27 Mar 2021Submission Checks Completed
19 Apr 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
30 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending