Agave Power: Greening the Desert

Exhibitor

Regeneration International


Team

Andre Leu
Ercilia Sahores
Francisco Peyret Garcia
Precious Phiri
Ronnie Cummins
Alejandro Vasconcelos
Juan Frias
Azucena Cabrera

Location

Summary

Agave, from the Greek word αγαυή, meaning “noble” or “admirable,” is a common perennial desert succulent, with thick fleshy leaves and sharp thorns. Agave plants evolved originally in Mexico, the Southwestern US, and Central America, but are also found today in the hot, arid, and semi-arid drylands of South America, Africa, Oceana, and Asia. Agaves are best known for producing textiles (henequen and sisal) from its fibrous leaves, and alcoholic beverages, tequila, pulque, and mescal, from its sizeable stem or piña, and more recently bio-ethanol from the bagasse or leftover pulp after the piña is distilled.

Agave’s several hundred different varieties are found growing on approximately 20% of the earth’s lands, often growing in the same desertified, degraded cropland or rangeland areas as nitrogen-fixing, deep-rooted trees or shrubs such as mesquite, acacia, or leucaena. Agaves can tolerate intense heat and will readily grow in drylands or semi-desert landscapes where there is a minimum annual rainfall of approximately 10 inches or 250 mm, and where the temperature never drops below 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius).

The several billion small farmers and rural families living in the world’s drylands are often among the most impoverished communities in the world, with increasing numbers being forced to migrate to cities or across borders in search of employment. Decades of deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, destructive use of agricultural chemicals, and heavy tillage or plowing have severely degenerated the soils, fertility, water retention, and biodiversity of most arid and semi-arid lands. With climate change, limited and unpredictable rainfall, and increasingly degraded soil in these drylands, it has become increasingly difficult to raise traditional food crops (such as corn, beans, and squash in Mexico) or generate sufficient grass and forage for animals. Many dryland areas are in danger of degenerating even further into literal desert, unable to sustain any crops or livestock whatsoever. Besides struggling with degraded landscapes, poverty, and crop failure, social conflict, drug trafficking, and organized crime often plague these areas, forcing millions to migrate to urban areas or across borders to seek employment.

Agaves basically require no irrigation, literally drawing moisture directly from the air and storing it in their thick thorny leaves (pencas) and stem or heart (piña) utilizing their Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) photosynthetic pathway, which enables the plant to grow and produce significant amounts of biomass, even under conditions of severely restricted water availability and prolonged droughts. Agaves reproduce by putting out shoots or hijuelos alongside the mother plant, (approximately 3-4 per year) or through seeds, if the plant is allowed to flower at the end of its 8-13 year (or more) lifespan.

A number of agave varieties appropriate for drylands agroforestry (salmiana, americana, mapisaga) readily grow into large plants, reaching a weight of 650 kilograms (1400 pounds) to one ton in the space of 8-13 years. Agaves are among the world’s top 15 plants or trees in terms of drawing downlarge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and producing plant biomass. [Footnote: Park S. Nobel, Desert Wisdom/Agaves and Cacti, p.132] Certain varieties of agave are capable of producing up to 43 tons of dry weight biomass per hectare (17 tons of biomass per acre) or more per year on a continuous basis. In addition, the water use of agaves (and other desert-adapted CAM plants) is typically 4-12 times more efficient than other plants and trees, with average water demand approximately 6 times lower.

Presentation


Image gallery

Videos

Partnerships

Clients / Target group

The Billion Agave Project has already been deployed in 1,000 hectares in Central Mexico, specifically in the municipality of Guanajuato. This year (2021) we will reforest another 1,500 hectares. We work with communal land owners (ejidatarios) and small land tenures who are looking for an alternative that is environmentally viable as well as economically sound, to avoid overgrazing, soil degradation and migration as the sole alternative.

Established collaborations and partnerships

Regeneration International, Municipality of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, Hudson Carbon Project, Organic Consumers Association.

Desired collaborations and partnerships

For all those who are interested in implementing and supporting the Billion Agave Project.

Time for discussion (Video Chat)

During the indicated periods, one of the team members is available for a chat.


Stand NoTime zone+/- UTC

Date

Start local time (hh:mm)

Duration (hh:mm)Attendant

Video chat link

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https://meet.lax.init7.net/4p1000stand028
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https://meet.lax.init7.net/4p1000stand028
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https://meet.lax.init7.net/4p1000stand028

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Handouts


9 Comments

  1. Felicidades por la valiosa propuesta que hacen por la Biodiversidad en Méxicol El Agave y el Mezquite son una excelente propuesta.

  2. Excelente proyecto para tierras áridas, en Murcia (Spain) también se está introduciendo. En nuestro proyecto LIFE AMDRYC4 lo contemplamos como experiencia de éxito para la adaptación al cambio climático. Enhorabuena


    1. Muchas gracias Maria José, te saludo desde México y me interesa conocer tu proyecto visitaré el stand y espero hagamos colaboración juntos. Éxitos

  3. Gracias Pedro Antonio, esta tarde estaré en el stand hasta las 17 horas porque me marcharé a dar clases, y tambien estarán otros compañeros hasta  las 18 h, y si podeis hay una experiencia en realidad virtual muy bonita que la expone un compañero 

  4. Ahora son las 8:45 "hs en México, estoy moviéndome hacia unas tierras de producción. Pero mañana o el viernes buscaré un evento de ustedes donde puefa disfrutar del recorrido virtual que comentas.

  5. Manuel
    Hi all,  We just wanted to make you aware of our activities at the stand 114 (Stand 114). We are presenting today our mobile VR app LIFE AMDRYC4. It is available for IOS and ANDROID (https://apkpure.com/es/life-amdryc4/com.UMU.LIFEAMDRYC4 or https://apps.apple.com/es/app/life-amdryc4/id1540739695) and you can also play through the web application at our official site (http://lifeamdryc4.eu/aplicacion/). The application is available in 5 languages (Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French and English) and allows you to simulate the effects of agricultural practices on the soil productivity, and CO2 emissions. We would love to have your feedback on this and we are happy to answer any question you may have about the LIFE AMDRYC4 project. Maria Jose Martinez (Research Coordinator), Carmen Perez Sirvent (Research Coordinator), Manuel Hernandez (VideoGame Designer and Project Manager).

  6. Gracias por compartir con todos el trabajo que estás haciendo con los agaves! Me gustaría invitarlo a visitar nuestro Stand 19 - Agripower Australia, para conocer los beneficios que tiene el fertilizante de silicio para la agricultura de conservación, la salud del suelo y las plantas, y el secuestro de carbono. ¡Por favor déjenos un mensaje si desea conocernos y hablar más! www.agripower.com.au

  7. Hello Regeneration International team,

    Hope you are doing fine! I am the COO of ConserWater Technologies (Stand #63), where we work with farmers across the world to help them get paid for increases in soil carbon, through internationally-certified carbon credits. We use satellites and AI to directly measure soil carbon without using any soil sampling. This enables us to work today across 3M+ acres of farms globally, unlocking 10M+ tons of carbon credits, which we certify and sell to big companies in the US and Europe at scale. We would like to explore working with you to help your farmers double their income through increasing soil carbon and carbon credits! 

    Thanks!

    S.Satyamoorthy