Thursday, 13 July 2006

Soil Constructions and Technologies for Stable Effective Farming Under Arid Conditions.

Andrey V. Smagin, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Soil Sci. Dept, Vorob'iovi Gory, Krylatskaia st. 29/2 ap. 202, Moscow, Russia and Nadejda B. Sadovnikova, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Soil Sci. Dept., Vorob'iovy gory,, Moscow, Russia.

During the last decade the representatives of advanced Russian business supported by leading scientific institutions of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (RAAS) and National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB) actively developing and introducing alternative technologies of land tenure and farming on the basis of natural and organic substances in conformity with arid conditions. A motivation for such developments, first of all, is the possibility of finding a way to a large-scale market of such technologies in the Arabian Gulf countries in which the programs directed against desertification and those aimed at development of agriculture and planting of greenery are of high priority and strategic ones. On the other side Russian unlimited resources of natural raw materials for manufacturing organic land amendments, original technologies for their production and high effectiveness of their utilization for growing plants in arid conditions give a hope that to-day the Russian business is able to occupy a leading position in this field. Simultaneously with manufacturing of soil modifiers and land improvers by joint efforts of the progressive Russian science and business a new trend – soil-landscape design oriented at utilization of natural (peat, composts, humus substances, sapropels …) and synthetic (strong swelling hydrogels) organic products to optimize negative behavior and properties of soils developing. In 1995 the Department of Soil Sciences of the Moscow State University upon an instruction of several independent commercial institutions started development of soil construction and beautification technologies in conformity with the arid climate conditions of UAE on the basis of organic soil amendments and special substances. The main idea put forward in those studies was to build a stratified soil according to the accurate calculations of depth of burial and power of the layer required to decrease filtration loses of irrigation water and its accumulation in the top soil together with protection against capillary bringing of salts to the surface. This engineering design is based on modern theory of the soil physical state [Smagin, 2003]. The technology was successfully tested at Dubai Municipality, Dept. of Horticulture and Public Parks and provided 30-50% economy of irrigating, twofold increase of production of green lawns and protection of the soil against secondary salinization. Under organizational and financial support of the «Natural & Organic Products» (NOP) company in 2005 the leading specialists of the Department of Soil Sciences of the MSU visited the projects in Bahrain and Qatar where soil modifiers NOP were used for beautification and agricultural production and made a complex examination and technical experiments connected with construction of soils. The list of the projects includes Sakhir Palace, Rowdah Palace, the Supreme Ladies Council in the Kingdom of Bahrain, experimental station of the Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture of Bahrain, research farm of the same Ministry of Qatar and a number of private projects-villas. With all this going on, the technologies are oriented at planting and growing of all main kinds of vegetation starting from lawn grasses and vegetable cultures to forests. The technologies put under oriented and calculated control all positive reserves of existing ground to achieve in the soil system a natural balance of nutritive and trace elements, moisture and air, improve physical and chemical characteristics, ensure favorable acid-base balance and conditions for growth of positive microflora. The presented system (Arid Grow-Ideal Soil) improves soil structure and enriches soil contents, maximizes efficiency of irrigation (50-60% economy of irrigation water), cures the soil and water salinity, ensures high economic profit for landscapers, farmers, gardeners.* Supported by RFBR (project 05-04-48456) and RSSF

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