Soil Bacteria are being Oultivated in Kazakhstan

Soil bacteria, which hinder the formation of sand are being cultivated in Kazakhstan. The bacteria are used to retain the moisture and prevent the dunes from moving. The dunes can move several meters per day in a strong wind. Environmentalists said that saxauls can only be planted once the bacteria turn the sands into hardened soil. Local scientists said that the use of the bacteria can prevent the soil from becoming sand again.

“We want to try to bind the sands together so that it becomes soil by using the bacteria. We will then plant the saxaul and the trees will grow. It is important for us to see these trees to grow. If the planting is successful, the roots of trees will grow by two or three meters,” said Head of Kazakh Biodiversity Conservation Fund, Assylkhan Assylbekov.

Meanwhile, scientists from China, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan shared their experience in the cultivation of saxaul. They are also interested in the work of Kazakh researchers.

In 2019, Kazakhstan cooperated with Korea Forest Service to plant the seedlings of black saxaul on 10,000 hectares of the Aral Sea bottom. The trees are most preferred in Kazakhstan due to its easy maintenance and high survival rate in the desert. 2,500 saxaul seeds are planned to be sowed in spring this year.

“For example, Turkmenistan planted the saxaul in a chessboard pattern. But we do it in a different form by separating the trees between rows. Each country has its own approach to plant the trees. We have deep sands; therefore it is harder to plant the saxauls. Every country shares its experience. Mongolia offered us various methods while Korean scientists visited our country twice a year to take the selection of seeds for research,” Assylbekov said.

The next task is the creation of a saxaul green belt around the settlements of the Kyzylorda region. Environmentalists are planning to grow the trees into a forest. Kazakhstan ranks first in the world for the size of the area where saxaul grows. These trees are planted on an area of over six million hectares, which is half of almost 12 million hectares of forest areas in the country.