Technology transfer :Cultivation on highly eroded land is a major challenge and requires a great deal of care. Various ecological cultivation systems are being analysed for their effectiveness in a scientific trial. Organic substrates based on biochar are used for fertilisation. Irrigation water is collected from the air using mist nets.
Local environment :Reforestation significantly reduces the risk of landslides and erosion. Biodiversity and the local climate are also improved. The local population is shown how depleted areas can be made usable again.
Further advantages :Jobs (in tree care, in the tree nursery, planting, setting up mist nets), educational tours for tourists, coffee cultivation in the forest garden as another source of income to combat rural exodus
Target group :Rural population in the region
Project partners :Ithaka Institute, Local Government Bandipur

In Nepal, in the small town of Bandipur, Mrs Bimala Shahi from our partner Ithaka Nepal gets up at 5 a.m. every morning to water and care for the tree seedlings on a nearby mountain that gives the area its name. She planted the trees last year using a kale substrate. Without the substrate and 3 years of care by Bimala Shahi, the trees could not survive here. The soil has been completely eroded and depleted by misuse in the past and there is hardly any rainfall in some months.

The reforestation of the hill is made possible by atmosfair and the Ithaka Institute. Bimala Shahi produces the biochar in a so-called Kon-Tiki. This is a very old production technique that was used thousands of years ago. She digs a funnel-shaped hole in the ground and places a thin layer of plant residue in it. She then lights it from above and adds new biomass in layers. The wood gases produced by the charring are burnt in the closed flame blanket on top. Despite its simplicity, this is therefore a very clean process for producing biochar.

In addition to biochar, other innovative concepts are used in this project that aim to create the smallest possible cycles. The ithaka Institute has set up fog nets. The morning mist condenses on them and forms water droplets. Many small drops of water collect and fill the tank so that the water does not have to be transported up the mountain. Mrs Shahi and her colleagues can water the new trees directly with water “from the air”.

A few villages away, in the Nepalese centre for biochar research, Ratanpur, we are going one step further and researching robust agricultural systems on abandoned rice terraces that can withstand the damaging effects of climate change and sequester as much carbon as possible. Without producing less fruit, we also want to produce as much biomass as possible on as little land as possible. We preserve this in the form of biochar and return it to the soil, which in turn leads to more plant growth and therefore more yield and biomass. To find out how best to do this, we are comparing different carbon farming systems. The Kathmandu Forestry College (KAFCOL) is working with its students to disseminate the results.

Our Partner

The Ithaka Institute is an international network for carbon strategies and climate farming. The Institute is known for its expertise in the production, characterisation, certification and application of biochar. In a number of tropical countries, the Institute is involved in projects on food security and reforestation through forest garden systems. As a reliable partner in scientific projects with numerous universities and public and private research institutes, it endeavours to combine creativity and innovation with reliability and scientific precision.

Martin Herma
Project Manager
M.Sc. Business Administration and Engineering
+49 (0) 30 120 84 80 - 75