The problem of soil erosion and lack of fresh water for irrigation is very relevant in Catalonia. During the wet season, the soil is washed away by rains. During a drought, plants do not have enough moisture to build up enough biomass to strengthen the soil. A key factor in soil stability is the presence of bushes and trees. They reliably hold the earth and cast a shadow. The shadow reduces moisture evaporation, and the roots protect not only the tree itself, but also nearby plants from being washed away.
We started the project on an eco-farm in the heart of the Catalan mountains.
Plot: East slope. Rock formation.
Objective: To collect as much water as possible during the wet season without erosion and help the site to self recover.
From the beginning, we laid out large stones for the passage of water so that it does not erode the banks of the streams. Streams end in a collection pond.
We lay the space between the waterways with fallen branches from the nearby forest. The branches cling to each other and create a solid frame to hold the ground. Branches also reduce the evaporation of moisture from the soil and are the habitat of organisms that process wood into a nutrient substrate for plants. We pay special attention to key points that are subject to the strong influence of water flows during the rainy season.
Along the borders of the restored areas and at key points we add a little fertile soil to start microbiological processes in the soil. On top we sow soil-bearing plants.
For the fastest restoration of the landscape, we transplant local tenacious plants and trees from stable biotopes to our sites. With their roots, they strengthen the soil and stimulate the development of soil life. On top of everything, mulch abundantly with any fine organics.
We increased the storage pond to collect more water during the rainy season.
The difficulty was that we carried out work in the hot period. This can adversely affect plant survival. The project is designed for a long-term period with full restoration of the soil throughout the site. In the future, it is planned to create a forest at this place.