Area for the ReviTec® research and demonstration site in front of the Faculty of Science, Ismailia, Feb. 2015
During the last month the research and demonstration site is getting more and more visible. After the kick-off meeting in February in Ismailia a possible research site was chosen on the campus which is approved by the president of the Suez-Canal University. A 100 x 65 m area behind the Faculty of Science building is available for a ReviTec® approach to combat desertification and soil degradation. The area is divided into six 30 x 30 m plots which are intersected by stone paths. The entrance door was already standing, but the area had still to be prepared and fenced.
ReviTec®® site building activities in April/ May 2015
In May 2015 Mr. Raimund Kesel and Dr. Thomas Buse from the University of Bremen conducted a four days training for the implementation process of the research and teaching site in Ismailia. During their stay regional soil amendments such as compost, dung or biochar from Egyptian char production were tested for an application in the ReviTec® modules. A module consists of degradable fabric bag filled with substrates, seed and amendments for the improvement of water and nutrient conditions.
Raimund Kesel and Thomas Buse visited the site in May and trained the substrate mixing procedure, the arrangement of the ReviTec® modules and discussed possible scientific designs and research interests
Further the first research question, the setting and the implementation process were discussed, which should start in October after the extreme summer month. Moreover the very dry climate condition with less than 30 mm rainfall in Ismailia, ReviTec® application have to be combined with appropriate soil wetting technologies. One objective of the experiments is to reduce water use and in consequences to reduce salinization with standard ReviTec® structures.
The goals of the ReviTec® site at the Suez-Canal University are following:
- Testing and demonstration of combinations of the ReviTec® soil rehabilitation with soil wetting technologies.
- Cultivation of medical plants and of crops and fodder plants on ReviTec® arrangements.
- Scientific monitoring of and teaching about the development and the performance of the ReviTec® structures.
During the preparation of the research site the first scientific work to determine soil parameters and the seed bank in the soil has done by the student Ms. Aya Awad Elsayed Mohamed from the Department of Botany. She did first important measurements in pH-value, particle size (texture), organic matter content and electronic conductivity of soil samples for her Bachelor thesis and as a references for later investigations on this research site.
Aya Awad Elsayed Mohamed collected soil samples for seed bank analysis
For the year 2015 two main experiments on two plots of the research site are developed now.
The first experiment deals with the effective production of Moringa seeds in high number and high quality. Moringa is under severe pressure on the Sinai from its exploitation as multipurpose medical plant by the native population, including seed collection. There is no natural re-growth. Combined with socio-ecological measures, ex-situ conservation may be a solution to re-establish viable Moringa populations on the Sinai. This experiment aims at the optimization of seed production with ReviTec®-supported plantation. With a standard and a reduced irrigation regime the water saving potential of ReviTec® is assessed.
The second experiments prove the water efficiency of irrigation systems in combinations with the ReviTec® structures. The growth of crop plants such as dry rise, millet or barley on the structures themselves will investigate according to biomass and yield production of these plants.
Both experiments were designed and finally discussed during the visited of Prof. Raouf Moustafa, Prof. Samira R. Mansour and Dr. Saad Zaghloul at the University of Bremen in September 2015. Research question and related hypotheses were developed and will be proven with the respective factorial design.
Field design for the Moringa experiments
Different colors means different treatments, blue lines is the irrigation system
Field design for the ReviTec® structures in irrigation systems
The research, teaching and demonstrations ReviTec® site should be an explorative approach within a new international Master of Ecology program at SCU. Egyptian MSc students together with their lecturer become directly involved in ongoing research activities at the demonstration site while generating new results, develop further research question and find approaches to solve the pressing problems of desertification and salinization.
The ReviTec teaching component should refer to
- basic ecological questions such as environmental factors (edaphic, climatic, biotic, …), vitality curve (e.g., ecological potential of Moringa), succession, biodiversity (seed) and management of these components
- application of ecological knowledge in selection of biotic components, management according to a specific aim, selection and preparation of biotic and abiotic material.
The ReviTec® Pilot site in September 2015.