Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Saxaul (Haloxylon) acts as a Carbon Sink

Haloxylon is a genus of shrubs or small trees, belonging to the plant family Amaranthaceae generally known by its common name saxaul from the Kazakh (seksewil). Being highly drought-resistant it can play an important role in the establishment of shelter beds and the fixation of sand dunes as a counter to desertification.
 
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The Saxaul's produces large quantities of biomass which are sequestered below ground acting as a carbon sink. In the predominant dry climate conditions of the cold deserts the Saxaul has the ability to remove carbon from the global cycle. It also offer additional benefits to the ecosystem by stabilising lightly eroded soils thus reducing the risk of sand and salt dust storms, enrichment of phytomass and humus, and the regulation of the ecosystem’s water balance through shade formation and small-scale evapotranspiration.

Carbon sequestration in soil organic matter (SOM) is increasingly advocated as a potential win-win strategy for reclaiming degraded lands, particularly in arid regions, mitigating global climate change and improving the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers. Vegetation management to develop the shrub or tree species in arid and semi-arid regions is one of the inexpensive and multi-purpose methods to decrease CO2.

Afforestation in desert regions is one of the most practical and advantageous methods of desert management. This research done on Saxaul (Haloxylon aphyllum) to calculate the amounts of aboveground and underground biomass of the species was carried out by cutting and weighting the aerial parts (leaves, stem) and roots in both species. Using the ash method to determine carbon sequestration coefficient of the studied species and the amounts of soil carbon sequestration were measured too by using of wacky black method. The total soil carbon sequestration of H. aphyllum is around 25 mg/ha. (equivalent to 25 metric ton/ha - mid range removal)