ECHOcommunity Conversations

Soil stabilisation species in dryland

Hi there, I’m looking for plant species that can work well as soil stabiliser for earth bunds in dryland areas. Currently we are using sisal plants in Somaliland to stabilise the soil but we would like to carry out some trials with shrubs and plants adapted to an average yearly rainfall of <450 mm rainfall. Any experiences on that? Thanks

Jatropha would be worth a try, it is pretty tough. I also recommend using indigenous species. They will be slow growing to start so you will probably need some physical support for the bunds such as rocks or sandbags or whatever might be available.
Some of the most resilient dryland species that I encountered in northern Kenya were Ziziphus sp., Balanites aegyptiaca (Desert date), Acacia sp., and Salvador persica (toothbrush tree). Another useful shrub from that area is Yeheb, Cordeauxia edulis, which also produces an edible nut.
Maybe others in the network can help you with local names.

Hi Bob, thanks for your feedback. I’m going to share this with our team in Somaliland and suggest to do a couple of trials with these species. We (Concern Worldwide) have done some domestication and reproduction of Ziziphus mauritania and Balanites aegyptica in Chad as these also provide edible fruits. Thanks again!