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Aloe Vera living barriers

Summary

Aloe Vera living barriers - a technique which uses the structure of a cross-slope barrier of Aloe vera to combat soil erosion by decreasing surface wash and increasing infiltration. Aloe vera is a durable herbaceous plant which is planted in the form of living barriers to recover degraded slopes on the Cape Verde Islands. The plants are closely planted along the contour to build an efficient barrier for retention of eroded sediments and superficial runoff. The living hedges of Aloe vera stabilize the soil, increase soil humidity by improving infiltration and soil structure. Groundwater is recharged indirectly. Soil cover is improved, and thus evaporation and erosion reduced. Implementation is relatively simple. The contour lines are demarcated using a water level. Seedlings are planted along one line at a distance of 30-50 cm between plants; spacing between the rows varies between 3-5 m according to the slope. On slopes steeper than 30% the living barriers are often combined with stone walls (width 40-50 cm; height 80-90 cm). The plants stabilize the stone risers, making this combined technology one of the most efficient measures for soil erosion control on the Cape Verde Islands.

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