Assessing the potential of trees for afforestation of degraded landscapes in the Aral Sea Basin of Uzbekistan

A. Khamzina, J. P.A. Lamers, M. Worbes, E. Botman, P. L.G. Vlek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Land degradation is a serious hindrance to agricultural development in Uzbekistan, a country striving to rebuild its agricultural sector for self-sustained production. The potential of multipurpose trees for upgrading degraded land is enormous. However, knowledge is lacking about the establishment and growth characteristics of different species, the energy content of firewood and the nutritive value of fodder. This study presents such data for 10 selected local multipurpose species grown on gleyic solonchak soil. Elaeagnus angustifolia L. and Tamarix androssowii showed superior biomass growth, respectively producing up to 11.0 and 10.4 t ha-1 of utilizable aboveground dry matter (DM). E. angustifolia showed high potential for rapid establishment evidenced by root elongation of over 100 m tree-1 at the age of 3 years. T. androssowii, Prunus armeniaca L. and Populus nigra var. pyramidalis Spach exhibited the greatest fuelwood characteristics, showing calorific values in the range of 14.4 - 16.2 MJ DM kg-1. E. angustifolia and Morus alba L. demonstrated superior fodder potential given by the crude protein content of 216 and 117 g DM kg-1. Recommendations on species selection are proposed based on various species characteristics. In assessing the potential of trees for afforestation of degraded land a reliable economic analysis of these aspects must be taken into account. When considering all characteristics concurrently, a mixture of species instead of monocrop cultivation seems to provide the best solution for improving degraded land.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-141
Number of pages13
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Feb
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF; project number 0339970A) and by the Ministry for Schools, Science and Research of the State of Northrhine-Westfalia. The results were obtained at the experimental research station of the Uzbek Forestry Research Institute in Khiva, and within the framework of ZEF/UNESCO landscape restructuring project. We are grateful for the valuable comments from two anonymous reviewers on the earlier version of this manuscript.


  • Degraded land
  • Dry matter production
  • Feed value
  • Firewood value
  • Multipurpose trees
  • Root development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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