Grazing land afforestation with Ceratonia siliqua (carob trees) in the Mediterranean [Greece]

Φύτευση βοσκότοπου με Ceratonia siliqua (χαρουπιές) στη Μεσόγειο (EL)

technologies_1600 - Greece

Completeness: 76%

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:

Tsanis Ioannis

Technical University of Crete, Greece


Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Catastrophic shifts in drylands (EU-CASCADE)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Technical University of Crete (Technical University of Crete) - Greece

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

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


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?


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Graze land forestation with Ceratonia siliqua (carob trees)

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


A stand of Ceratonia siliqua (carob trees) is established within an area used for grazing. Tree density is average (6 m grid configuration) and the majority of maintenance input is limited to the first 3 years. Once established, grazing can continue with few limitations. Ceratonia siliqua (carob tree) is very characteristic of the Mediterranean region, thus blending in very well with the local landscape, especially in the rugged agro-pastoral areas of the Mediterranean islands.
After the successful establishment of the plantation, intense irrigation is no longer required and livestock can be allowed in the afforested area which has been upgraded to an improved agro-pastoral or agroforestry land. This improvement facilitates a healthier ecosystem that mitigates land degradation by stabilizing soil, increasing infiltration and organic matter and promoting flora and fauna. In addition to those traits, Ceratonia siliqua is fire resistant and can promote market diversification for the farmer. The main drawback of this technology is the reduction in livestock and other crop production during the first decade of application until trees are mature.

The purpose of this technology is multifold. The primary goal is to increase ecosystem services provided by the treated area, especially for grazing. The farmer takes advantage of the qualities of carob trees for providing:
(a) Fodder to the livestock from the carob pods as well as leaves from cuttings;
(b) Shade to the livestock during the summer months;
(c) Better soil retention, water infiltration etc.
A secondary goal is to increase market diversification with the direct exploitation of carob beans for various products, such as carob honey and carob flour. These products give added value to the land and allow the farmer to increase his income in a more sustainable way.
At the same time much is gained from various other ecosystem services relevant to habitat and supporting services for the fauna of the area, such as birds and honey-bees. The aesthetic value of the landscape which strongly linked with Cretan traditions and pastoralism lifestyle is enhanced. The touristic attraction of the area is greatly improved providing new options for recreational activities and exploitation through actions such as agro-tourism.

Initially, few structural measures are required, mostly related to preparing slopes and soil for sapling planting and establishing irrigation infrastructure. A palisade that will effectively prevent livestock from damaging young trees needs to be maintained during the first 10 years of application of the technology. 2-year-old saplings are planted in a grid configuration with spacing of 6 m and actively managed for at least 3 years. Management includes watering, fertilization and replacement of dead or weak saplings.

The average annual precipitation in the area is 690 mm and the climate is classified as subhumid. Average annual temperature is 17.5 oC with 7 months below 18 but above 5, thus classifying the area as subtropical. In the location where the technology is applied, land is mostly individually owned and distributed among a few families of a community of about 100 inhabitants. Although the financial means of the land user who applies this technology are more or less on par with those of the rest of the community, he has a wider empirical education and relatively higher social status acquired thought his involvement with the commons.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

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



Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:



Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 0.05 km2.

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • 10-50 years ago

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production
  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation

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

Land use mixed within the same land unit:


Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agro-pastoralism (incl. integrated crop-livestock)



  • Tree and shrub cropping
Tree and shrub cropping - Specify crops:
  • carob
Grazing land

Grazing land


Tree and shrub cropping: Ceratonia siliqua (carob tree)

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): The main problems are reduced land cover that progressively leads to soil erosion, combined with the lack of sufficient water resources in the wider area.
Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Land users perceive a problem of reduced pasture fodder availability thus residing to more expensive solutions

Livestock density: 50-100 LU /km2

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • mixed rainfed-irrigated

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • natural and semi-natural forest management
  • agroforestry
  • pastoralism and grazing land management

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

vegetative measures

vegetative measures

  • V1: Tree and shrub cover
structural measures

structural measures

  • S6: Walls, barriers, palisades, fences

Type of vegetative measures: aligned: -linear

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
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover
  • Bq: quantity/ biomass decline

Main causes of degradation: overgrazing
Secondary causes of degradation: education, access to knowledge and support services

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation
  • restore/ rehabilitate severely degraded land

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

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

A stand of Ceratonia siliqua (carob trees) is established within an area used for grazing. For at least 10 years the area is fenced adequately to exclude livestock; once trees are mature sheep can return to graze. If a tree needs to be replaced after establishment, it can be individually fenced.

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate (advice from technical staff is required for each of the plantation establishment stages)
Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate

Main technical functions: improvement of ground cover
Secondary technical functions: improvement of topsoil structure (compaction), stabilisation of soil (eg by tree roots against land slides), increase in organic matter, promotion of vegetation species and varieties (quality, eg palatable fodder), control of fires

Aligned: -linear
Vegetative material: T : trees / shrubs
Number of plants per (ha): 120
Vertical interval within rows / strips / blocks (m): 6
Width within rows / strips / blocks (m): 6
Trees/ shrubs species: Ceratonia siliqua
Construction material (other): chain-link fence


I. Daliakopoulos

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):


If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Planting saplings Winter
2. Grafting in the 4th year of establishment
3. Slope/soil preparation Before planting
4. Chain-link fencing Before planting
5. Irrigation piping Before planting

4.4 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 3760.0 3760.0
Equipment machine use ha 1.0 3020.0 3020.0
Plant material seedlings ha 1.0 820.0 820.0
Construction material chain-link fence ha 1.0 1900.0 1900.0
Construction material pipes ha 1.0 270.0 270.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 9770.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 13383.56

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Fertilization
2. Replacing dead or weak trees whenever necessary
3. Pruning once a year
4. Watering twice per month during summer, once per month during the rest of the year

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

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour labour ha 1.0 350.0 350.0
Plant material seedlings ha 1.0 280.0 280.0
Fertilizers and biocides fertilizer ha 1.0 160.0 160.0
Construction material water ha 1.0 6.0 6.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 796.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 1090.41

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:

690 mm

Agro-climatic zone
  • sub-humid

Thermal climate class: subtropics

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%)
  • 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)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

> 50 m

Availability of surface water:


Water quality (untreated):

good drinking water

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • high

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Off-farm income:
  • > 50% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • average
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly Leaders / privileged
Population density: < 10 persons/km2
Annual population growth: negative; 1%

5.7 Average area of land used 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, titled
Land use rights:
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • communal (organized)

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • 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


fodder production


fodder quality


animal production

Comments/ specify:

during the first 10 years

wood production


risk of production failure

Comments/ specify:

30% failure rate

product diversity

Water availability and quality

demand for irrigation water

Income and costs

expenses on agricultural inputs

Comments/ specify:

after at least 10 years

diversity of income sources


Socio-cultural impacts

cultural opportunities


recreational opportunities

Comments/ specify:

agro-tourism opportunities

conflict mitigation


Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

surface runoff


soil moisture


soil cover


soil loss


nutrient cycling/ recharge

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C


plant diversity


animal diversity


beneficial species


habitat diversity


pest/ disease control

Climate and disaster risk reduction

fire risk


wind velocity


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

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
droughts / dry spells for the first 3 years not well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

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


Long-term returns:


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

slightly negative

Long-term returns:


6.5 Adoption of the Technology

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 91-100%

1 land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support
There is no trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Increased income through the provision of free fodder for the livestock.
Restoration and protection of pastureland from further degradation.
Provision of additional market opportunities to the land user.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Restoration and protection of pastureland from further degradation.
Provision of additional market opportunities to the land user.

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

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Decreased income though the reduction of livestock density (exclusion) for at least 10 years. Receive financial assistance (subsidies) per excluded animal. Voluntary contribution of local farmers to benefit from economies of scale (for unions).
Decrease of vegetation under the tree canopy. Reduce carob tree density.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Decreased income though the reduction of livestock density (exclusion) for at least 10 years. Receive financial assistance (subsidies) per excluded animal.
Cannot implement in higher altitude pastureland due to the nature of the carob tree. Perform afforestation with Mulberries (Morus nigra)

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users
When were the data compiled (in the field)?


Links and modules

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