Introducing Groasis Technology for Ecological Restoration
Its name is Groasis Technology. It resembles a strange pot with a ridged cover at the top which condenses water and an elongated hole for the plant at its center. It is literally a water box that allows the planting of trees and vegetables without the aid of conventional irrigation systems and energy use. The plant is planted directly into the ground and Groasis Technology (GT) is placed around it with a given amount of water inside that can last in some cases up to eight months, gradually irrigating the plant through a candle-like wick located at the bottom of the box. Once the plant is big enough the GT is removed.
Groasis technology was recently introduced in Galapagos by the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Floreana Island Parish Council with the support of the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD). This technology will be a key component of the Floreana Island "Reforestation and Sustainable Agricultural Production Pilot Project".
GT is an innovative technology that optimizes the use of water for the propagation and cultivation of plants, reducing normal water consumption by up to 90% in comparison with other techniques such as drip irrigation.
This technology was invented by Mr. Pieter Hoff a Dutch scientist and designed by Groasis-Aqua Pro and has been successfully used in over 28 countries around the world, mainly in arid and desert areas such as the Sahara Desert (www.groasis.com).
In continental Ecuador GT was successfully implemented in the province of Santa Elena by the "Fuente de Vida Foundation”.
In Galapagos, the Floreana pilot project addresses not only ecological restoration opportunities but also urgent needs of the island that are in line with the GNPD and Floreana Parish Council management plan and objectives. These opportunities and necessities are:
- Ecological restoration of the island habitats through reforestation with endemic species, and effective invasive species management;
- Local agricultural production to reduce dependence on freight transportation and potential invasive species introduction as a key to sustainable development;
- The use of native and endemic plants in public and private gardens of the island as an effective eradication process for potentially invasive introduced ornamental plants.
Among all the islands in Galapagos, Floreana is an important conservation and sustainable development "mini natural laboratory", where ecological restoration techniques and sustainable practices can be combined on a development model consistent with the unique characteristics of the archipelago.
Although CDF's efforts to find long term solutions to specific invasive species continue, it is clear that efforts for a sustainable management of the islands must also involve the effective participation of community stakeholders. This will contribute to preserve Galapagos biodiversity while meeting its human population’s social and economic needs.
The visit to the Galapagos Islands by the "Fuente de Vida Foundation” representative and GT technicians from Santa Elena on April 15th, marked the beginning of the Floreana Pilot Project. During their stay, the visitors together with the CDF team showed two presentations about the project: one to the GNPD and another to the local Floreana community in the village of Puerto Velasco Ibarra. Both presentations were very well received.
Additionally, several GT samples were placed with Galapagos endemic plants to demonstrate how they work in the gardens of the GNPD, the Amazonas School and the Floreana Parish Council on Floreana Island as well as in the CDF and GNPD installations on Santa Cruz Island.
In the coming months, a nursery and shade house will be built, and there will be several visits by GT technicians to train, and mentor the staff and community members who will participate in the project. Currently, six hundred GT units donated for the project by "Groasis Waterboxx Holland” are already on the islands waiting to be placed into action. The results obtained in this pilot project, with prior GNPD endorsement, will be the basis for the development of a much larger reforestation project proposal on a regional scale.
This project is possible thanks to the generous support of The Comon Foundation and Groasis.