Reforestation and Mallorca
Take dry desert sand, almond shells, kelp and compost containing a myriad of microorganisms and mix with a hydrogel that can store four hundred times its own weight in water. This is ReviTec®), developed by researchers at Bremen University and used, following a devastating fire, to reforest Na Burguesa, Calvía with native Quercus ilex or Holm or holly oak.
The formula also includes mycorrhizal fungi specially bred at the university to adapt to a specific terrain where they weave their filaments into the earth, creating a vast subterranean network to provide the plants with water and structural support. In addition fungi added to the substrate allow a rich variety of vegetation to grow.
Jute sacks, which are biodegradable and supply the young plants with essential nutrients, act as fertility islands when filled with the mixture, and two holly oaks are planted in each. Subsequently large stone are placed around them to catch the dew.
Good forests mean good water reserves. Holly oaks are not native to this particular area and may take a hundred years to reach their prime but their presence signifies water as their roots descend vertically, extending five metres every year, and acting like a sponge in retaining water. This also makes them wind and drought resistant. 90% of the holly oaks planted with ReviTec® have survived. In addition they are stronger and taller to those grown by any other method.
Experiments such as this will delay desertification in the Mediterranean region and such success rates will lead to the use of similar techniques in even drier areas of the world.