Investigation of Biodegradable Polymer-Cellulosic Mulch Persistence and Effects on Seed Germination and Establishment of Desert

Wind erosion and its consequences, such as dust storms and sand movement is one of the environmental problems in arid regions. There are several ways to combat wind erosion, among which biological reclamation using drought-tolerant species and psammophytes is the most sustainable method. The initial establishment of these plants requires the use of sand stabilizers such as mulches. The mulch used in the past was the product of oil refineries and industries, which despite its merits such as strength and flexibility, had many environmental consequences. Therefore, researchers and scientists in the country decided to present an eco-friendly product that would replace the oil mulch. One of these products is polymer-cellulosic mulch, produced by the Department of Chemistry, Malek Ashtar University of Isfahan. This mulch was used in sand dunes of Kashan, during which the mulch resistance to environmental conditions, its effect on plant establishment, and soil moisture uptake and retention were investigated. The results showed that this mulch had no negative effect on plant establishment. Its resistance to wind erosion is very good for the first few months of spraying. However, over time and during the hot summer months, cracks appear that partially overshadow the mulch's stabilizing properties. The soil moisture content was about 4.5% higher in 10 t/h mulch as compared with control. In general, for the crust and cracks problems, this mulch cannot be a good alternative to petroleum mulch.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Iranian Journal of Range and Desert Research, Volume:26 Issue:3, 2019
517 - 530  
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