FuturaGene Launches Field Trials in China to Couple Desert Reversal and Local Socio-Economic Benefit
(FuturaGene/Yahoo!) FuturaGene, a world leader in the enhancement of yield and sustainability of woody crops for plantation forestry, biopower and biofuel markets, has launched four field trials for selection and improvement of plant species in Gansu province, in northwestern China. The trials will evaluate the potential of woody crops and certain shrub varieties to combat desertification, enable soil regeneration and produce economic offtake for biopower and liquid biofuels.
Two of the trials comprise different species of native woody shrubs in collaboration with Gansu Desert Control Research Institute (GDC) and the Jingtai Forestry Bureau. One of these trials is both irrigated and intercropped with cash crops, to bring immediate benefit to local farmers. Two additional trials consist of several drought tolerant tree species suitable for short rotation coppicing.
These trials represent the start of a 4-year long project to evaluate the potential of the plants to provide ecosystem services (carbon sequestration, desert reversal, soil restoration), as well as socio-economic benefits such as intercropping and bioenergy offtake. Varieties selected for their potential from these trials will be improved by breeding and advanced biotechnology.
Major goals of this desert control campaign are to stimulate the active participation of the farmers through bringing them and their families direct economic benefits, to provide training in advanced plantation management techniques and to find suitable plant species for different industrial applications in the area. Upon successful completion of the project, FuturaGene intends to scale up its activities in Gansu and replicate the project in similar environments around the world, providing solutions for ecosystem restoration and regeneration, energy security and rural development in regions affected by desertification and soil degradation. READ MORE