LIFE and climate change adaptation | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
December 2015
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

Agricultural practices have adapted over millennia to regional and local variations in weather conditions. But as the effects of climate change become more noticeable, further adaptation becomes essential to ensure food security in Europe.

The need to improve cultivation techniques is perhaps more apparent in dry areas where the impact of climate change is already visible. As its name suggests, the Green Deserts project aimed to apply new planting techniques in desertified areas of Spain. By combining these techniques with an innovative water box technology (Twinboxx), it showed that even unpromising land could be made productive.

The boxes, which hold 25 litres of water, offer a novel way of planting trees that avoids the need for irrigation. A wick below the box ‘leaks’ the water slowly to the plant’s roots. “It basically restores the capillary function and forces the plant to grow deep roots anchored in the soil,” explains project manager Sven Kallen. Survival rates of round 80% were achieved without irrigation since the box captures rainwater and dew. “After one or two summers the box can be taken off for re-use in another plantation as the roots will have grown deep and wide into the soil where it will further develop thanks to the restored capillary action,” Mr Kallen adds.

Restoring desertified areas is particularly effective for tackling the problem of climate change. The restored areas serve as “green barriers” to further erosion and allow more rainwater (especially from extreme rainstorms) to be absorbed. Trials with cash crops (trees for timber, cherries, almonds, pistachios etc.) showed the economic viability of the project’s method. Tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers also have been successfully cultivated in very arid areas in this way.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Camarsa, Gabriella
Toland, Justin
Eldridge, Jon


Data provider

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.


Share this page