New Research


2008/05/01

Carbon Dioxide Fixation by Afforestation of Arid Land

-Technologies for effective use of limited water resources and development of process simulators-

Professor Korekazu Ueyama, Associate Professor Yasuyuki Egashira

Afforestation is known as a carbon fixation method, but to fix significant amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it requires huge amount of land surface. Arid land is a suitable place for large scale afforestation without competition with the agriculture. We examined arid land afforestation technologies in the Australia inland as a part of research project with other universities and a research institute.

Effective use of limited water resource is essential for planting trees in arid land. In experimental site located at Leonora, Western Australia, water-impermeable compacted soil layers ( hardpan ) are formed at shallow depth from the surface, and rain water is flowing down towards a salt lake and evaporates in vain.

We planted trees after applying technologies for enhancing the trees\' water usage, such as hardpan blasting to promote the water permeation, and bank constructions for gathering water. There are much afforestation sites in Western Australia, but our site is a rare example under low annual rainfall, 200-300mm ( around one tenth of Japan ), and attracts much attentions. Additionally, it was shown that the carbon dioxide fixed in this afforestation site is 66 times larger than that resulted from the plantation process, including hardpan blasting and bank constructions.

From the viewpoint of water balance, we have been modeling the phenomenon within the afforestation process, such as surface water runoff, soil water movement, and transpiration, and we are developing the process simulator for arid land afforestation. This simulator will be utilized for planning of local afforestation projects and estimation of global potential of carbon fixation.


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