Greening the Desert is a sustainable lands solution that arrests global desertification & repairs marginal drylands to cultivate productive crops for food and fodder where otherwise, nothing else can grow
Our methods mimic nature for sustainable benefits to
- Improve farm productivity
- Combat global warming
- Revive wildlife habitat
- Repair diminishing ecosystems
- Reduce soil erosion caused by salinity, wind, rising water tables and soil instability, and
- Remediate landscape damaged by human activity such as mining, farming, fire and flood.
Most importantly – we change lives for the better by providing Indigenous and rural communities with social, economic and environmental net gains.
We especially engage with Indigenous Australians – the world’s oldest living culture – for advice and mutual support based on their 40,000 year history and affinity with the land.
By providing mentoring and business training in exchange for knowledge of the desert and drylands, we create a generational wave of dignified new business people for Indigenous Australians to take ownership and control of their own lands and related enterprises.
The UN Decade of the Desert
In this, the United Nations Decade of the Desert (which ends by 2021) as increasing areas of land around the world face desertification, we apply our scientific and field research to mimic nature and cultivate otherwise barren landscape for cash crops and food to overcome worldwide famine and reduce global warming. Read more
By the year 2050, the global population will be about 9.3 billion people. To match this growth, food production will need to increase by 44 million tonnes every year. (Tester and Langridge 2012 & FOI 2011)
Drylands are home to 2.1 billion people, meeting the basic needs for a significant proportion of the world and harbouring some of the world’s most valuable and rare biodiversity.
One crop in every three crops under cultivation has its origins in drylands – supporting 50% of the world’s livestock and wildlife and accounting for nearly half of all cultivated land systems.
Greening 100,000 Hectares
Combination of Leguminous and Halophyte shrubs planted in companionship at UTas Research Farm, Cambridge, Tasmania, using saline irrigation.
By the end of the UN Decade of the Desert, we will repair at least 100,000 Hectares of desert and drylands to grow commercial crops for
- Human consumption and animal fodders
- Abatement offset to counter global warming (ACCUs)
- Pharmaceuticals for flavonoids, protein powders, medicinal and wellness products, and
- Biochar and biofuels for renewable energy
Over 25 years this will create
- More than 300 million man-hours of (mainly) Indigenous employment
- More than 50 million tonnes of nutritional animal fodders, food, protein and medicines for human consumption, and
- The capture of more than 20 million tonnes of GHG emissions to combat global warming.
The World Today
Our research identifies a number of species
- Requiring nil or minimal irrigation
- Of extreme salinity tolerance – in some cases using saline irrigation or flooding
- Requiring minimal land preparation, cultivation and weeding, and
- Needing negligible quantities of fertilizer
A Holistic Solution
Our holistic solution extend beyond agriculture by delivering community programs for employment; job skills and economic development; watershed catchment management practices; improved farming techniques and the development of specific skills relating to a broad range of downstream activities such as:
- Milling (food products that are organic, protein rich and free from allergens, soy, dairy and gluten)
- Pellet making (fodder for all forms of livestock)
- Climate change (from soil carbon and agroforestry)
- Humanitarian aid (combatting global famine and malnutrition)
- Domestic and international trade (export)
- Packaging and transport and valuable environmental, social, sporting and community net gains.
Our science is based on extensive university and practical research and field trials to identify the species and the means to sustain productive agriculture and combat long term global warming by replenishing the earth and reducing the albedo effect to encourage more rainfall.
Our species have been researched and tested by our scientific partner the pre-eminent University of Tasmania (UTas) and by planting our species in companionship with other drought and salinity tolerant species.
In 2009 the company received a Commonwealth ARC Research Grant in partnership with UTas for the research and investigation of productive crop outcomes from drought tolerant and saline consuming plant species. A copy can be downloaded by clicking here: Panta et al (2014)
Our research has identified a number of appropriate species
- Requiring nil or minimal irrigation
- Of extreme salinity tolerance – in some cases tolerating saline irrigation or flooding
- Requiring minimal land preparation, cultivation and weeding, and
- Needing negligible quantities of fertilizer
They flourish within extreme climatic conditions and planting in impoverished terrain and flood plains.
Mostly, they are native to countries and regions where the landscape is marginal or comprised of desert and include a mix of plants that are drought resistant and capable of consuming salt.
They can be used in companionship with each other for a range of bio-diverse planting regimes – reducing the need for water and organically enriching the soil by fixing nitrogen.
Some species are endowed with powerful salt bladders that consume salt exuded from the land – which is disposed of by grazing or by mechanical harvesting (a process called phytoremediation) – making them ideal species for retaining carbon emissions in the soil.
Our methodologies include non-till site preparation as an important part of our land management system for overcoming minimal rainfall and sporadic weather patterns.
Extreme ploughing activity damages and ruins the soil, disturbing valuable biodiverse root systems that penetrate deep into the ground in search of air, water and nutrients so we use ground imprinting or ripping to avoid breaking-up the soil and to minimise erosion.
Clay Seed Capsules
We design and test clay seed capsules to encase seeds within their own natural climatic environment pending germination to provide nourishment and protection from a host of predators and damaging elements while waiting to germinate under the right climatic conditions.
These capsules accommodate a range of natural and valuable nutrients, providing micro-sites for seed establishment by concentrating scarce site resources such as water and organic matter, within non-till imprinted hollows thus creating – rather than relying on – the right climatic conditions for germination.
Our planting methodologies include continuing and rigorous testing regimes to ensure the best possible planting outcomes from
- Seed cleaning and grading in a seed laboratory for germination and seed health (pathology) testing
- Seed treatment for fast and uniform seed germination processes
- The removal of barriers for physical, chemical or morphological dormancy of seed to facilitate embryo development and repair, and
- Significant research and development using internationally accredited experts for seed production, seed quality and seed treatment.
Founder and Managing Director
Former Tasmanian parliamentarian and lawyer, Gabriel founded the PundaZoie Company Pty. Ltd. which is the owner of the intellectual property comprising the Greening the Desert program in the early 1990’s.
The word PundaZoie is comprised of two Greek words meaning “everlasting life.”
Mobile +61. 438 116 649
Prof. Sergey Shabala
The GTD research leader and Stress Physiology Research Group Leader at the School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania, Sergey is also a co-Director of the Australia-China Research Centre for Plant Stress Biology and an Editor in Chief for Functional Plant Biology.
Sergey is the acknowledged world leader for plant stress physiology, plant adaptive responses to salinity, extreme temperatures, soil acidity, drought, water logging, nutritional disorders and bionic stress.
Sergey is on the scientific funding panel for 14 different countries where his research has been cited almost 7000 times. His current H Index is 45.
Jeff Castellas is Managing Director of Greenard Willing India Pty Ltd. and the founder and director of Clean Technology AustralAsia Pty Ltd.
Jeff has enjoyed 20 years of professional investment banking and corporate advisory experience and is acknowledged as an international expert in structuring and raising capital for industry partnership projects in the agriculture, energy and mining sectors in Australia and India.
Jeff advises ASX public and private companies on commercialisation and investment. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Earth Sciences from Deakin University, Melbourne and Master’s Degree in Business from Royal Roads University, BC, Canada.
Mobile +61. 401 067 252
Michele is Director of Eco-efficient Consulting: business strategist and marketer with an unwavering passion for the environment, having founded her first environmentally minded enterprise at 18 years of age. Michele has continued to make a life-long contribution to the area of the environment and over a decade in clean technologies.
Mobile +61. 409 858 116
A graduate in botany and geology from the University of Tasmania, Roy has been a science teacher, Supervisor of Science in the Tasmanian Education Dept., managing director of both a computer training company and a Web design and marketing business operator.
Roy has acted as a consultant in business management and project development and for the PundaZoie Company for the last five years, Roy has been involved in developing projects and management structures.
Mobile +61. 438 392 041
Elizabeth (Biz) Nicholson
Tasmanian farmer and seed producer, Elizabeth (Biz) is the proprietor of the specialist Tasmanian wild seeds production company Taz Wild Seeds as well as Taz Wild Foods (a grower of Tasmanian sea vegetables) and is an experienced and successful farmer in her own right.
Biz’s family run 18,000 sheep on their Tasmanian farm where Biz propagates and grows native species for a broad range of practical purposes.
Phone +61. 3. 6384 2165
Suresh is responsible for science and research having joined our team in 2014, holding two postgraduate degrees in Agricultural science as well as being a final year PhD candidate in University of Tasmania.
Suresh’s research is Halophytes for high saline agriculture where he is researching the sustainable use of saline water for irrigated halophytic plant production in degraded land and plant adaptive responses to extreme environment (soil and water salinity, drought, and waterlogging) soil health and rehabilitation of degraded land. Suresh is a member of Soil Science Australia and the Australian Society of Plant Scientists.
Mobile +61. 421 358 669
Greening the Desert is progressing a number of projects in Australia and overseas.
They include land remediation programs for the UAE; the engagement of various Indigenous Communities in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia; the instigation of the Wimmera Carbon Ready Plan on behalf of the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and the creation of pulse protein manufacturing plants for various districts in Australia.
The Wimmera – Turning negatives into positives
Greening the Desert has established a number of trial plots in partnership with drought and salinity affected farmers and stakeholders of the Wimmera Districts of Western Victoria.
These trials, conducted with the assistance and support of the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority (WCMA) provide ongoing research and trials for long term perennial crop solutions on marginal land for alternative growing outcomes for local farmers.
This project involves growing and processing hardy and consistent crops into flour, feed pellets and foodstuffs for export as high quality livestock fodder and allergen free food that is high in protein for sustenance in countries such as Africa and India.
Ground preparation by imprinting being conducted by hand in preparation for trial plots in the UAE
No desert landscape in the world is as harsh as the deserts of Arabia. Almost every tree and shrub growing in the UAE requires irrigation – and almost every drop of water used for irrigation purposes is provided by desalination.
Greening the Desert is trialling a variety of endemic and Australian species in the harshest desert landscape in the world at sites at Ghayathi and Barqua Al Suqor for the cultivation of crops using both nil and saline contaminated water.
Below are before and after photos of Gayathi after five months.
We are especially committed in Australia to our connections with Indigenous Australians from whom we receive advice and support based on their 40,000 year old history of natural affinity and culture of respect and understanding of the land.
In return, we look to empower members of the world’s oldest living culture as business people and entrepreneurs by providing mentoring and training to create a generational wave of new business people based on dignity and mutual respect.
A project in preparatory stages is for the Scotdesco Aboriginal Community (ww.scotdesco.com) a property of 10,000 acres located about 150 kms south of Ceduna on South Australia’s west coast, comprising marginal cropping country and running a relatively small number of Wiltipol sheep.
Greening the Desert methodologies will be applied for the Scotdesco Community to create accredited carbon offset for ERF bidding and for upgraded planting regimes to increase the size of the flock by enhanced grazing and for crop harvesting for productive fodder pellets, high protein or flour free-from gluten, dairy, soy and allergens and for protein powder.
The Indigenous Monetary Fund of Australia (IMFA).
Our partnership with IMFA enables us to create a nexus with Aboriginal land owners and land users.
IMFA is instrumental for recommending appropriate Aboriginal sites and introducing us to Indigenous Communities.
IMFA provides access to Aboriginal elders and decision makers that open doorways for us for site management and labour creation roles and to access other private sites for the application of our programs.
IMFA is a commercial enterprise, majority owned by Aboriginal shareholders and run by an all Aboriginal Board of directors. It will be a beneficiary of Greening by the Metre.
IMFA is humbly proud to be associated with and to support Greening by the Metre and gratefully welcomes all partners, mentors, teachers, sponsors and supporters to join us in developing the agricultural and business programs which we see as a landmark arising in the history of Australian Aboriginal economic development.
With the downturn in the mining industry, many jobs of Indigenous Australians are either lost or soon will be, so the timing has never been better to re-engage our people in an activity they have been pursuing successfully for more than 40,000 years – dryland and salinity farming.
As a specialist team, IMFA has the strategic and commercial ability with the assistance of the income from Greening by the Metre subscribers, to build a nation of flexible and sustainable Aboriginal enterprise. In doing so, it will create experienced Aboriginal entrepreneurs profiting from commercial relationships with the markets, forward contracts and off-take agreements with government, private corporate business and industry sectors.
We wish to see Aboriginal entrepreneurs making a valuable contribution to Australia as a whole and ultimately assisting other peoples of the World to lead better lives. So, where better to start than on our own native title land and Aboriginal land where our produce will be regarded as an authentic “Aussie brand” with commercial credibility and integrity?
Greening by the Metre offers all Australians and people around the world the chance to join in our mission through informed and considered partnerships and sponsorships and by providing mentoring and teaching assistance to achieve our collective social and economic objectives.
Mr. Parry Agius
Message from the Chairman of IMFA.
Get in touch
Should you wish to support our work, become involved in our activities, receive more information or if we can address a specific need for you about Greening the Desert™ please feel free to contact one of our team members by phone or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The PundaZoie Company P/L (ACN 101 489 605)
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