A bridge between science & agriculture
Greening the Desert is a scientifically researched remediation program to cultivate the land where nothing else will grow
Greening the Desert is the bridge between science and agriculture to cultivate harsh, drought and salinity stricken terrain using minimal water.
Our practical solutions apply scientific research that mimic nature and permanently re-mediate and sustain drought and salinity stricken farmland and desert landscapes.
What we do
In desert and arid wasteland and on marginal land we cultivate and grow
- Beneficial and sustainable cash crops for human and animal consumption
- Pharmaceuticals and flavonoids for medicinal and wellness products
- Abatement offset to counter global warming, and
- Biochar and biofuels for renewable energy
Our methodologies halt rising water tables and reduce desertification and erosion.
We stop the loss of valuable habitat and ecosystems, repair impoverished soil and improve poor quality water systems.
Why we do it
We do it to remediate the deserts and revive marginal farmland and to repair land damaged by widespread mining activity.
We use poor and unsustainable growing areas – such as salt flats and flood plains – that otherwise, cannot be used to sustain the global food chain or maintain valued ecosystems.
Greening the Desert reduces the albedo effect to encourage more rainfall.
A common perception is that rain emanates from the sky – whereas in fact, it emanates from the ground. Rain falls (or ceases to fall) because of what is growing on the ground. If there are no lush forests, green foliage or ground cover…rain will not fall.
- Fukoaka 1985
Greening the Desert is based on extensive university research and practical field trials to identify the species and the means to sustain productive agriculture.
In 2009 the company received a Commonwealth ARC Research Grant in partnership with the pre-eminent University of Tasmania (UTas) for the research and investigation of productive crop outcomes from drought tolerant and saline consuming plant species.
You can download a copy of this research report by clicking here: Panta et al (2014)
Our Scientific Partner – the University of Tasmania (UTas)
Our species have been researched and tested by our scientific partner by planting in companionship with other drought and salinity tolerant species.
Professor Shabala (left) of UTas; the Chairman of The Indigenous Monetary Fund of Australia (IMFA) Mr. Parry Agius (centre) and Mr. Gabriel Haros Managing Director of Greening the Desert inspect saline irrigated crops at the UTas Research Farm at Cambridge, Tasmania.
This research identified a number of species requiring
- Nil or minimal irrigation
- Extreme salinity tolerance
- Minimal land preparation, cultivation and weeding, and
- Negligible fertilizer
The species require innovative planting and crop protection to flourish within extreme climatic conditions and planting in impoverished soils and terrain.
Our preferred species are mostly indigenous to those countries and regions where the landscape is marginal or comprised of desert.
In many cases they include a mix of different types of plants – such as Halophytes- that are capable of consuming salt, as well as being extremely drought resistant tolerant (Xerophytes).
Others may include Legumes used as companions in a bio-diverse approach to reduce the need for water or to organically enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen.
Most species are available in Australia and qualify as native flora. There is flexibility for different species to achieve different outcomes.
Many are endowed with salt bladders to capture the salt that is predominant in the soil at the commencement – which is then disposed of by herbivore consumption (grazing) or mechanical harvesting.
Pictured is a microscopic photo of salt bladders contained in PZC grain crops species
Non-Till ground preparation
Appropriate site preparation is important for overcoming the problem of minimal rainfall to ensure a successful re-vegetation process.
Extreme ploughing activity can damage and ruin the soil and disturb the soil roots of crops that penetrate deep into the earth in search of air, water and nutrients so we apply a non-till ground preparation regime.
This methodology, known as ground imprinting, avoids breaking-up the soil but roughens the smooth, closed soil surface without causing compaction or increasing erosion potential.
This method can be employed by hand or machine to suit local site conditions.
Land surface preparation using non-till methods for seeding using clay capsules in the UAE
Clay seed capsules
Planting is conducted using clay seed capsules. This process enables seeding on a large scale (by aerial means if necessary) and reduces the cost for fencing and control mechanisms; fertilizer and irrigation.
These capsules accommodate a variety of landscape requirements inclusive of organic matter pending germination, that perform specific valuable tasks for the protection of seeds from birds, insects, animals, wind, erosive factors, stock trampling and a multitude of other predators and damaging elements.
This process benefits the soil by providing favourable microsites for seed establishment and concentrates scarce site resources of water and organic matter into non-till imprinted hollows.
Greening the Desert trials has achieved positive seed germination outcomes from its clay capsule technology after rain-fall measuring as little as 18mm pa.
Founder and Managing Director – former Tasmanian parliamentarian and lawyer.
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
Bridging the Gap
Millions of dollars have been spent over past decades by successive Commonwealth and State Governments in mostly unsuccessful attempts to close the gap in indigenous disadvantage in Australia.
Natural Affinity with Agriculture
This is a culture addressed by Greening the Desert for an environment and lands solution process, tailored specifically to empower Indigenous Australians using Native Title Land by delivering a future that exploits a history and natural affinity with agriculture, bush tucker, animal husbandry and the land.
Greening the Desert delivers a future based on land tenure, working capital, employment and learning by assisting the development of business skills by empowering Aboriginal communities to exploit their valuable cultural and social roots and skills in a manner that is respectful, independent and dignified of Aboriginal heritage.
The Wimmera – Turning a Negative into Positives
Greening the Desert is partnering with drought and salinity affected farmers and stakeholders of the Wimmera District in Western Victoria, in co-operation with the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority (WCMA) to provide long term growing solutions for local farmers and surrounding districts.
This process includes the development of international markets for the export of high quality food and livestock feed from the Wimmera – in particular to countries such as India – to assist local farmers to overcome their own issues with drought and saline farming conditions.
Greening the UAE
Ground preparation by imprinting being conducted by hand in preparation for trial plots in the UAE
Almost every tree and shrub growing in the UAE required irrigation – and almost every drop of water used for irrigation purposes must be provided by desalination.
Greening the Desert planted a variety of endemic and Australian species in the desert in Western UAE at two sites Ghayathi and Barqua Al Suqor for field testing the cultivation of both nil and saline contaminated water derived from underground sources.
In just two months, visible sign of success are emerging from the desert landscape in a manner that predicts most (if not all) of the planted species (of some 16 different varieties) will bloom by using Greening the Desert methodologies.
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)