The Caatinga is the most densely populated semiarid region in the world and the only exclusively Brazilian biome. The region needs assistance to prevent it from becoming an immense desert. Nearly half of the Caatinga has already been destroyed — some 840,000 square kilometers (324,300 square miles) — and there are indications that this symbol of resilience — home to diverse and endemic species — is undergoing a desertification process that has already consumed 13% of its territory. The Caatinga is home to plants that have adapted to seasonal rainfall extremes, like the iconic umbu tree (Spondias tuberosa) that stores water in its roots. But the biome can no longer rely solely on evolution and the peculiar transformations of its vegetation to survive as it comes up against deforestation and global warming. But one simple and innovative idea from the Restoration Ecology Lab at Rio Grande do Norte Federal University’s Ecology Department could turn the tables on failed Caatinga restoration projects, in which 70% of the seedlings transplanted by traditional methods are often lost The method developed at the UFRN lab has reversed that, raising survival rates to 70% on average. It uses PVC pipes to accelerate and lengthen root growth in native plants that have difficulty drawing water from degraded and salty soil. Monitoring an angiko tree (Parapiptadenia rigida) in the experiment area. Image by Gislene Ganade. From pasture to forest In the first management phase, the seedlings are germinated in a greenhouse inside PVC pipes with small bags…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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