Technologies

Riverbank stabilization [Afghanistan]

Nehal Shani Kenar Darya

technologies_1285 - Afghanistan

Completeness: 86%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Slaimankhil Abdul Ghafar

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
HELVETAS (Swiss Intercooperation)

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?

12/10/2015

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:

Yes

1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?

No

2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

A low cost and an easy activity for protecting agricultural lands, gardens and public infrastructure from the damages of flash flood.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology

Description:

Lack of vegetation coverage in the hills and mountains of Saighan district has become the source of destructive flash floods. Harvest of shrubs and other vegetation for fuel wood and the uncontrolled grazing of animals in upper catchment areas are some of the reasons for the loss of vegetation. Flash floods, that mainly occur during the spring and summer seasons, destroy many hectares of agriculture lands and gardens,damage public infrastructures and sometimes threatens lives.

The plantation of long root trees in lower catchment areas is an effective and low-cost technology. Its objective is to prevent flood damage. Trees 
hold the soil in place with their root structures decreasing land degradation and soil erosion. It is a low cost activity that can be 
alternative option to protection walls which are more costly, both in terms of establishments and maintenance. Additional benefits of the technology are the increased availability of wood beams for 
construction, of fuel wood and of fodder. This technology, coupled with information campaigns, may help to provide a strong disincentive against 
cutting shrubs and grazing in upper catchment areas. In addition, increasing the number of indigenous trees help reduce the negative effects of climate change. The trees also serve as wind breaks.

Having mobilized the community, areas along the watercourse that have been damaged by floods as well as unproductive lands were selected. Based on their ability to adapt well to the local environment, cuttings of Salix (or Willow) and Populus (or Poplar) were selected for planting. Cuttings were provided from the district. Each participating household planted 400 cuttings (2 m long size). The cuttings were planted at a distance of 25 cm and the line to line distance was 100 cm. For the first year, wooden belts, placed along the plating line may protect the new saplings from flood damages, ensuring that the sapling are able to grow. Protection by fencing with barbed wire in two first years also prevents grazing of leaves and new branches by animals.

Interested households should be introduced by the Community Development Council members through a transparent selection process and considering the following criteria:
• the household should be interested to plant long root tree cuttings;
• the household should have enough degraded / riverbank and waste land to plant cuttings;
• Willingness to invest.

The cost of applying riverbank stabilization (plantation of Salix and Populus) is estimated to be 10 AFN/cutting. One person can plant over 500 cuttings per day. In this case, 50% of the cutting cost was contributed by HELVETAS projects and 50% of the cost of the cuttings was contributed by the participating households.

Participating households maintain the plantations. They are responsible for irrigating the cuttings and for protecting them from grazing animals for the first few years. In addition to improved flood protection, participating households increased their understanding riverbank stabilization and energy plantation and managing cuttings (selection, land preparation, fascine and palisade plantation).

Bamyan province is a remote province of Afghanistan with a high poverty rate. It has a semi-arid climate with cold winters and hot and dry summers. During winter, temperatures can drop below -22 degrees. Summer temperatures can reach 34 degrees in the month of July. The average annual rainfall in the area is about 230 mm and some years can be very dry. 90% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods and off-farm activities are marginal. The growing season in Saighan district is relatively short from April to October and farmers can produce only one crop per year. Farmers with access to irrigation water cultivate cash crops, for example potato and vegetables, in addition to staple crops (wheat) and fodder crops. Those without access to irrigation water cultivate wheat and fodder crops only. Water scarcity during May to September may result to lack of high value crops.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment

Country:

Afghanistan

Region/ State/ Province:

Bamyan

Further specification of location:

Saighan

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

When the people migrated in other provinces, they saw over there and learnt. Since 2011 HELVETAS introduced this activity for alternative option of cutting shrubs and low cost protection wall against flood damages.

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation
  • reduce risk of disasters

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

Grazing land

Grazing land

Extensive grazing land:
  • Semi-nomadism/ pastoralism
Intensive grazing/ fodder production:
  • Cut-and-carry/ zero grazing
Waterways, waterbodies, wetlands

Waterways, waterbodies, wetlands

  • Ponds, dams
Comments:

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Lack of sustainable land management, uncontrolled overgrazing of animals and collection of woods and bushes for fuel by the people in the upper catchment area. Occurrence of flash floods which damage public infrastructure, gardens and farm lands the sources of livelihoods downstream areas.
Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Population increase and lack of resources and service delivery during the war caused over exploitation of resources in upper catchment areas. Increase in flock sizes to improve incomes which resulted to overgrazing.
Semi-nomadism / pastoralism: People move their flocks to other provinces and graze also in the area hill and mountaines
Cut-and-carry/ zero grazing: Provide fodder from agriculture land and graze in unimproved pasture areas. People have less animals like sheep, goat and cows

If land use has changed due to the implementation of the Technology, indicate land use before implementation of the Technology:

Other: Waterways, drainage lines, ponds, dams

3.3 Further information about land use

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • full irrigation
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1
Specify:

Longest growing period in days: 90, Longest growing period from month to month: April to June; Second longest growing period in days: 120, Second longest growing period from month to month: July to October

Livestock density (if relevant):

1-10 LU /km2

3.4 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • surface water management (spring, river, lakes, sea)
  • wetland protection/ management

3.5 Spread of the Technology

Comments:

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 98.5 m2.

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

vegetative measures

vegetative measures

  • V1: Tree and shrub cover
Comments:

Type of vegetative measures: aligned: -along boundary

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
  • Wr: riverbank erosion
soil erosion by wind

soil erosion by wind

  • Et: loss of topsoil
Comments:

Main causes of degradation: deforestation / removal of natural vegetation (incl. forest fires) (Cutting shrubs of upper catchments increased naked area, so flash flood and drought years resulted), overgrazing (Free grazing of animals in spring and summer seasons resulted that domestic plants have eaten by animals before producing seed), floods (Naked area of upper catchments is the source of comming multi times flood per year), population pressure (Increasing population demanded more), war and conflicts (War limited services and caused less availability of fuel)
Secondary causes of degradation: droughts (No vegetation coverage increased temprature of the area and reduced deep moisture of soil), poverty / wealth (Poverty is the reason of destroying natural resources), governance / institutional (Lack of good governance for having development strategy)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation
  • reduce land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Author:

Shabir Shahem, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Afghanistan

4.2 Technical specifications/ explanations of technical drawing

The technology should be applied along the damageable areas into multi lines. The technoIogy should be applied along the
damaged areas in multiple lines.
Location: Saighan district. Bamyan province
Date: 12/10/2015

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: high (To advice and train people on lining system and propaganda of its importance)
Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate
Main technical functions: stabilisation of soil (eg by tree roots against land slides), reduction in wind speed
Secondary technical functions: control of raindrop splash, improvement of surface structure (crusting, sealing), improvement of topsoil structure (compaction), improvement of subsoil structure (hardpan)

Aligned: -along boundary
Vegetative material: T : trees / shrubs
Number of plants per (ha): 5000
Vertical interval between rows / strips / blocks (m): 2
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 1
Vertical interval within rows / strips / blocks (m): 2
Width within rows / strips / blocks (m): 0.25

Trees/ shrubs species: Salix, poplar
Slope (which determines the spacing indicated above): >50%
If the original slope has changed as a result of the Technology, the slope today is (see figure below): 15-30%
Gradient along the rows / strips: >3%

4.3 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):

Afghani

Indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (if relevant): 1 USD =:

64.0

Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:

5.46

4.4 Establishment activities

Activity Type of measure Timing
1. Cutting preparation and plantation Vegetative 5 days (April)

4.5 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour labour ha 1.0 54.6 54.6 100.0
Other cutting ha 1.0 1562.5 1562.5 50.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 1617.1
Comments:

Duration of establishment phase: 0.33 month(s)

4.6 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Type of measure Timing/ frequency
1. No maintenance cost is required so far. Vegetative

4.7 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Comments:

Riverbank establishment cost is calculated here assuming that the soil is soft, gulleys have not formed and the cuttings are available within the villages and cost efficiently provided by the farmer.

4.8 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

The severity of erosion, hard soil and lack of long root cuttings are the factors which effect the cost of riverbank establishment the most.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

Annual rainy days are 37 and snowy days are 14 days, mostly June to September are dry months.

Agro-climatic zone
  • semi-arid

Thermal climate class: temperate

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
Landforms:
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

5-50 m

Availability of surface water:

medium

Water quality (untreated):

poor drinking water (treatment required)

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • rich
  • very rich
Individuals or groups:
  • groups/ community
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
Gender:
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users
Difference in the involvement of women and men: In Afghanistan societies women don't work in such hard works, although now women work out of their homes but they work as teacher, staff of organizations, self professionals and etc.
Population density: 10-50 persons/km2
Annual population growth: 3% - 4%; 3%
60% of the land users are very rich and own 30% of the land (Able to purchase cutting and hire worker).
30% of the land users are rich and own 40% of the land (Able to purchase cutting and hire worker).
10% of the land users are average wealthy and own 30% of the land (Able to purchase cutting and work by themselves). (Mainly they do not have land).
Off-farm income specification: Those people who not applied such technology, their lands are under threat of flood and to provide fuel wood should pay more in a year

5.7 Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • medium-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, not titled
Land use rights:
  • individual
  • individual/communal
  • individual/communal
Comments:

The water use rights is determined by hours on 2000m2 land area.

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

health:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
education:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
markets:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
energy:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts

Production

fodder production

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

19700 kg

Comments/ specify:

The leaves of tree can be more after 5 years, now the saplings are small size

wood production

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

985 pcs

Comments/ specify:

It is going to be increased after some years when the tree saplings groth more sizes

production area

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

49250 kg

Comments/ specify:

Fuel wood increased

energy generation

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

50

Comments/ specify:

The household who applied technology are about sufficient from fuel energy

Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency

reduced
improved
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

20%

Comments/ specify:

Houshoulds who applied the technology now they don't pay for providing fuel wood as more as they paid in the past. they provide fuel wood more from their established forest and save their moneys for other needs

SLM/ land degradation knowledge

reduced
improved
Comments/ specify:

People undrestood it is a good technique to control soil erosion and get fuel wood to do not go got mountains for cutting shrubs

conflict mitigation

worsened
improved
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

30%

contribution to human well-being

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Now the boys don't go to the mountains to collect bushes for fuel wood and get education. It has as well contributed the households economically as they do not need to spend money in purchasing fuel wood.

Ecological impacts

Soil

soil cover

reduced
improved
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

30%

Comments/ specify:

Now the hard wind is not a reason of soil erosion in covered land areas and it get more however the trees grow more and become tall

soil loss

increased
decreased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

50%

Comments/ specify:

Protection of area from damage of flood and wind by tree belts decreased soil loss of agriculture lands

soil organic matter/ below ground C

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

10

Quantity after SLM:

50%

Comments/ specify:

Raw materials which accelerate micro organism activities increase in the area

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

10%

Quantity after SLM:

50%

Comments/ specify:

Fallen leaves increased biomass

Climate and disaster risk reduction

wind velocity

increased
decreased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

30%

Comments/ specify:

Wind breaks and protected about more than 3 Hectare agriculture lands

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

downstream flooding

increased
reduced
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

15%

Comments/ specify:

Breaks wave of flood

wind transported sediments

increased
reduced
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

50%

Comments/ specify:

Decreased damages of wind and frost

damage on public/ private infrastructure

increased
reduced
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

50%

Comments/ specify:

Protected the road

6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season Type of climatic change/ extreme How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm well
local windstorm well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought not well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood not well

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period not well
Comments:

During the first years, as the roots are still undeveloped, saplings should be protected by a stone wall from floods. During drought years saplings
should be irrigated at least 2 times per week over two years.

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

Comments:

Expenditure occurs mostly during the establishment of the technology. After a few years, benefits (including production) increase without significant expenditure.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • more than 50%
Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many have did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 90-100%
Comments:

It was applied as extension activity but when the others families learnt and saw the good results, they applied by themselves without any external supports
985 land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support
The land users also decided to extend this activity in other place lands which they have.
There is a strong trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology
As this technology is applicable by each family and has good results, many other people has trend toward the spontaneous adoption of the technology.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Increasing fuel wood
Prevents occurrence of flash floods in the agricultural lands
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Applicable by rural community members.
Low cost technology to prevent damage of floods in comparison with concrete protection wall.
A good option for reducing shrubs cutting in the upper catchment areas.
Prevent soil erosion by winds
Contributes in the greening of the environment

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Lack of good and improved cuttings Production of good species in wood lot or nurseries
Small landholdings per households (limiting the establishment of the technology) Group decision and motivating and involving larger group of people to apply the technology
Saplings are vulnerable towards floods in the first two years because still they have not long roots and saplings are as well small Protection by a stone wall belt in the way of coming flood for 2 first years

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

HELVETAS Swiss IntercooperationSaighan field officeILRC and GS projects 2012 to 2015

Available from where? Costs?

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Afghanistan

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