What is good vegetation in these extreme circumstances?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Sieger, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Sieger

    Sieger Junior Member

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    Coming month I will go to Afghanistan,to work there for the next two years, on water related projects in the north eastern mountainous parts of Afghanistan (between 1000 and 5000 m above sea level).
    This area is largely deforested, most of the hillsides are without trees, which causes flooding and erosion.
    If possible (it’s not the primarily goal of the project), I will try to educate the local people how to reforest this area (and reduce erosion and flooding). But the climate is very extreme (-20 to +40 degrees Celsius).
    I’m looking for vegetation that survives in this area with these extreme temperatures (nitrogen and phosphate fixers, fruits, timber; small plants, bushes and trees etc etc). So that I can educate them and possibly start a small part of a reforestation project…
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Is there anything out there that you can see that is starting to establish itself on it's own? That's were I would start...
     
  3. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    First off, good luck with the project! I hope all works out well. I have to wonder though, why is reforestation not the primary goal of the project? Unless your mission is to provide clean drinking water, sanitation, and other 'basic' water projects. That I can understand. But as we know, forests are immensely important when it comes to the water cycle.

    I'll see if I can get one of my friends who is stationed there to find out some information regarding local vegetation for you. No promises, but I'll try.
     
  4. Sieger

    Sieger Junior Member

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    @ eco4560: there is some vegetation, but nearly no trees and bushes, and in the hot season, the small vegetation disappears, because of lack of higher/bigger vegetation like trees. I have seen only the pictures and heard the stories of the current situation. For me at this moment it's more like: before I'm there, let's start finding some knowledge (now I have access to the internet), take it into the field, and find out what knowledge is usefull.
    @ Finchj: you guessed it right, the project is about providing water, sanitation and other basic water projects.
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Have a look at the ladakh experience. Firstly the climate is similar. Extreme heat during summer days, extreme cold during winter. Second its a desert climate and high up in the himalaya. Third, in the last x number of years, there have been reforestation programs. There is some debate whether there has been climate change and more precipitation as a result of these trees. This year there was an enormous flood which devastated many houses. The trees are planted along river banks. Its unlikely (if you ask me) that these forests could cause these floods and i am a doubtful that they could have that much impact on the climate since as far as I can see there still aren't so many trees about. However, i think you should look into what's been done there. Its in india by the way. You should probably get in touch with indian forest service because i think the work has been done through government otherwise it would be NGOs.

    The trees that were planted were mainly a small timber tree that the locals could use in building their houses.

    Do the local people not farm anything? Also look at what they do in Kashmir since the elevation is so wide. And also Nepal. All these countries are on about the same latitude. Also the higher areas of india such as Uttarkhand and HImachal Pradesh which are the foothills of the himalaya. Also Northern Pakistan.

    In Ladakh, they grow wheat. They grow excellent apricots at about 3000 - 3500m. They grow vegetables and beautiful house gardens full of vegetables and flowers. They have charming irrigation channels.

    I think kashmir and Nepal would be similar. The chinar tree is famous in Kashmir. They are very proud of this tree. Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir is about 2500m. I'd say rhododenrons are another tree that would grow in this region. The main problem you will have is water.

    Its no good telling them what to do if you are unable to help them source the plants (in the case of trees) and seed in every other case.

    It seems odd to me that they are not farming or growing things if such things are possible to grow there. But i guess if its only water that's missing and you are going to fix that, they might not know anything.

    It occurs to me that perhaps you should leave the education re vegetation to those who know what they are doing. I see there is a university of agriculture in north eastern afghanistan built by germany. And perhaps there are agricultural scientists there. You know about water, perhaps you should just do that.
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    ah i just remembered about something i saw on a science show last week. Apparently human urine is rich in phosphorous. I thought it was just nitrogen but apparently its both. The program was called Catalyst. You will find it on the ABC. YOu could ask them for further information. I would suggest if you are going ot instruct people to apply this to their plants that perhaps find out if they need to dilute it first so they don't burn the roots. Also chicken poo is rich in nitrogen and phosphorous. Again i was surprised to learn that phosphorous was part of that little fertiliser packet. Chicken poo should be aged before use.
     
  7. Sieger

    Sieger Junior Member

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    @sun burn:
    Thanks for the information, in my project area people are planting wheat, potato’s, beans, and some vegetables. Furthermore they are growing some Apple, Apricot and Mulberry trees, but the main tree is poplar for wood production; so not a very diverse ecosystem.
    Because of the climate change, they have less water and when it rains, it’s with a higher intensity. To fight the droughts and to prevent floodings, the amount of vegetation needs to be increased. This needs to be drought resistant vegetation. Then apricot and mulberry are quite good, but I need to give them more species.
    I found a report from UNEP about biodiversity, where they mentioned the species that were present in the past my project area: Onobrychis, Astragalus, Acantholimon, Cousinia, Artemisia and Ephedrus. But Latin names area really useful without the local names :).
    So who can give more detailed information about the vegetation, useful links to websites etc?
     
  8. sindhooram

    sindhooram Junior Member

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    I've heard that goji berries survive those kind of temperatures...not sure if it would be useful to you in any way but I thought I'd mention it - they're nutritious anyway!!
     
  9. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Have you thought of introducing swales to this area to help with the erosion problem?
    If this area does get rainfall but intensely, then this could be a partial solution to both the erosion problem, And the ability to get trees to grow.
    Has anybody asked the locals what they would like to see growing there or what they remember used to grow there well?
     
  10. Sieger

    Sieger Junior Member

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    @Mischief: the rainfall seems to come more and more at an irregular frequency, so flooding and droughts are occuring more and more. Infiltrating as much water as possible, using all known technologies, such as swales, contour trenching, bunding, catch dams etc. are absolutely neccesary! But to prevent flooding and erosion I need to increase the amount of vegetation. And to plant as much as possible, the vegetation needs to use small amount of water. As said, most people are planting poplar, which is not really drought resistant...
    So one of my ideas - besides implementing as much infiltration solutions as possible - was planting drought resistant vegetation, by using tree and bush nurseries, and train people to take care for the vegetation the first 5 years, to prevent them being eaten by livestock, or dying because of lack of water, which might be a hard job, because of the droughts.
    But my knowledge of these drought resistant vegetation is lacking...
     
  11. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    robinia Pseudo acacia , cedrus deodar, loquot ,percimmon ,pomegranite sorry 100% misspelt

    quercus
     
  12. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    red wine will do that to you some times (lol)
     
  13. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    many of our australian natives are adapted to quite dry conditions. You could try some of the faster growing species like sydney blue gum, but perhaps for a hardier (and slower growing) option, you could consider some of our arid species such as mulga (also a nitrogen fixer, and can be used as emergency stock feed) other acacias, mallee.
     
  14. Sieger

    Sieger Junior Member

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    @Adrians and andrew curr
    thanks for your comments. One question about the mentioned vegetation, will those plants also survive if temperature goos down to -20 C and up to +40 C?
     
  15. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    im not sure if it is red wine or me and mechanical devices.
    i assume you can locate|\create some microclimates that arnt quite so extreme!
    i forgot to ad poppys
     
  16. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Those fruits up there are subtropical and won't make it in harsh winters. You need to look for fruits that need 800+ chill hours, like Northern Spy apple, but apples need pollinators, so there needs to be two different types of apples that bloom at the same time, not 2 of the same kind of apple. Alfalfa is a good green manure that is tough and can help with erosion. Blackberries that will grow in harsh winters and planted around catchments or existing ground water springs/creeks are tough. Sounds like you might have to focus on spring and fall where it's not so extreme. Check blooming times so that fruit finishes before it gets too hot, or that the blooms don't happen too early and get frozen. cotton needs a lot of heat. Barley and wheat are also big crops there. If you get enough water, growing winter squashes that will store well are really nice to have around during the winter.

    Do you know how to witch for water? there might be underground streams you can tap into.

    Of course, opium is Afganistan's largest export :)
     
  17. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    the mallee, mulga and other arid eucalypts and acacias would certainly survice +40°C, more, they survive the full range of our arid temperates which can be regularly above 45°.
    It does get cold in our arid areas.. -5°C definitely, -10°C probably, -20°C I am not sure. But I would definitely consider it for more reasearch.
     
  18. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Apparently at freezing is the cut-off point for most eucalyptus. Probably depends on how many hours of the night it's at that temp. Here's what Wikipedia says:

    the hardiest are the so-called Snow Gums, such as Eucalyptus pauciflora which is capable of withstanding cold and frost down to about −20 °C (−4 °F). Two subspecies, E. pauciflora subsp. niphophila and E. pauciflora subsp. debeuzevillei in particular are even hardier and can tolerate even quite severe winters.

    We have lots of eucalyptus trees where it doesn't freeze in California. And it's an excellent firewood producer, although it takes a lot of time to grow, but apparently the price for the wood makes it worth it. I have burned lots of eucalyptus wood and it's very clean and hot.

    But the loquat and pomegranate would never make it at freezing.
     
  19. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Get in touch with https://rareseeds.com/

    They often help Afghanistan with rare, NON-GMO seeds since I see the people happy in the catalogs often. Second, do you know what soils, etc you are looking at? Microclimates?

    I don't feel I can really help out anymore then this since like many countries & Permaculture properties - it's all about that place you are working on. What works for me, might not for you, but the fact we can spin off each others ideas makes PRI, these forums, etc... wonderful.
     
  20. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    I think it is also still on the invasive species list for Cali too. I remember going to the Oakland / Berkeley Hills and seeing a Eucalyptus forest... well it's not a forest if it is a monoculture is it? Well, that's what it was, a former Giant Sequia forest, now a Eucalyptus grove with only those trees under it.

    However, hell yeah.. this tree brings the heat when used! ;)
     

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