|Research by Better Globe Forestry|
The tree planting research done by Better Globe Forestry (BGF), from Kenya, is still at an infancy stage, but is already very important for the company’s fieldwork. As expected, it fits into BGF’s philosophy of massive dryland afforestation.
A small definition of drylands here is in order. We are talking about areas with average annual rainfall of 400-700mm, most of which falls in one season (November - December) with less reliable precipitation in April - May.
Temperatures are high, fluctuating between 24o and 30o Celsius. Evapotranspiration ranges between 1600-2200mm per year. According to the agro-climatic zoning of Kenya, evaporation of 1650-2300mm per year defines semi-arid land, while evaporation of 1900-2400mm per year characterises arid land.
Since rainfall in drylands is unpredictable, good and commercial tree growth will depend on management practices, soil improvement methods and the genetic material of the tree species itself. The research so far can therefore be categorised under the following headings:
The body of knowledge required for reliable tree planting in an unreliable climate - as characterised by drylands - is low but quickly gaining importance and yielding some early results. Much is still in the planning stage, and a lot is expected from the genetic improvement component. Superior plantations, however, are the result of good and simple management techniques based on continuous applied research. The latter is only attained by a policy of openness and cooperation with other institutions, each with its particular strengths.