Afforestation and reforestation projects are very important for the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge (CWR) because of their main aim to maintain floristic biodiversity and provide wildlife with food sources, habitat or refuge, etc.
During these projects CWR regular tree planting activities have been organized whereby modern technologies. Accordingly, it is expected to develop an afforestation unique technology for semi-desert zone . From 2015 on the selected areas of CWR are supposed to be planted with more than 1000 trees, which are all indigenous species, cultivated at the same region.
The first innovation that has been used this year is soil physical conditioner, which is considered to be the modern way of combating dry climatic conditions.
TerraCottem physical soil conditioner consists of hydrogel , root growth stimulator, volcanic gravel and fertilizers.
The main component in this material is a polymer based hydroabsorbent hydrogel which increases the water and nutrient holding capacity of soils or growing media and improves their structure, aeration and performance. It increases the plants root development and plant growth and reduces the need for watering for up to 50%. It holds 100 times more moisture than the weight of its crystals (up to six months) and step by step supplies water to the plants. Nowadays this method is widespread in Southern Europe and in Australia. It has a vast contribution to the development of agriculture and forestry / arboriculture field.
The next innovation method, which is still in a testing phase, is irrigation system. Considering the scarcity of water resources, the use of such systems was highlighted for reducing losses. As a solution to the problem this year deep root irrigation system was invested at the forest experimental plot. The advantage of this system is that the root growing zone of the soil is being watered directly through the irrigation pole, hereby reducing evaporation and other losses.
An assortment selection has been done by taking into consideration the climatic conditions and purpose of the plantation. This is the reason only wild fruit species have been selected. These species are also typical to the region and adapted to climate conditions.
In order to reduce the air flows and accordingly evaporation level protective forest layer has been established around the main plantation. The selected experimental forest plot is expected to become a precedent for an establishment of forest gardens in the entire territory of CWR.
The project is implemented by ENVIRON Foundation financial support.