Research at UAF - Remediation of saline wastelands through the production of biosaline biomass for bioenergy, fodder and biomass- Integrating and strengthening the European-Asia research Area Target Project

PI:  Dr. Javed Akhtar, Institute of Soil & Environmental Sciences
Cost:    2.46
Duration:  3 Year

Progress Reports


BIOSAFOR is a joint research project of nine research institutes from the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Pakistan, Spain and the United Arab Emirates financed by the European Commission within the Sixth Framework Programme. 
Project introduction:
Growing trees on saline wastelands provides the unique opportunity to produce, timber, biomaterials1 and biomass for energy on land that is of little economic value for food production. With growing populations, increasing living standards and increasing pressures on fossil-fuel supplies worldwide, the demand for other resources is growing, providing new opportunities for the salinized marginal lands that can be found in many arid, semi-arid and even sub-humid areas in South-Asia and elsewhere. The major aim of BIOSAFOR research project was to investigate the productive potentials of biosaline agroforesty systems in such areas from the selection of trees to an optimized management and the development of economically feasible value chains. The BIOSAFOR project was unique as being different disciplines was integrated and knowledge on biosaline agro-forestry is compiled from various research institutes. Global knowhow on biosaline agriculture is still scattered and not very well systemized.
The BIOSAFOR project will create a platform to pool knowledge on biosaline agriculture, to transfer the knowledge available to a situation of biosaline agro-forestry in arid and semi-arid areas and to distribute this knowledge to different stakeholder in DEV and EU countries. The overall objective of the project was to  

  • contribute to the development of biosaline agro-forestry systems for various saline environments (local/regional approach) and
  • parallel to that; to explore the potentials and options for biomass production in saline environments (globally)

The BIOSAFOR research project was financed by the 6th framework programme of the European Commissions research programme consisted of  Organisation for Agriculture in Saline Environments (OASE), ACACIA Institute and UU Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands; ICBA, United Arab Emirates; Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Bangladesh; Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), India; SARC, University of Agriculture and PARC, Pakistan; CITA, Spain and UHOH University Hohenheim, Germany were the partners in this project.
Saline Agriculture Research Centre, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad was involved in work package-1 (WP1) as a partner with PARC. The main task of this WP was the “Screening of trees for saline environments and the production of relevant salinity data”. The objective of this work package was to select a number of tree species or varieties with good production characteristics for saline environments and to produce relevant salinity data about these species. Pot trials with different salinity levels were conducted in several replications and salinity curves for all tested species and varieties were produced.
Tree species tested during trials showed the genetic variation in term of biomass potential at different salinity levels. The threshold slope for salinity tolerance with respect to root-zone salinity and plant biomass were developed using the SALT programme specially designed for this purpose. The tested tree species were then divided in three groups.
Table: Categorization of the tested species for their salt tolerance potential

Highly salt tolerant species

Salt tolerant species

Salt sensitive species

Tamarix aphylla

Acacia nilotica

Zizyphis mouritiana

E. moluccana

Melaleuca leucadendra

Dilbergia sissoo

Acacia ampliceps

Albizzia lebbek


E. camaldulensis

E. camaldulensis (local)


Overall, the research on biosaline agro-forestry in this project contained several important innovations as:

  • Selection of tree species, varieties, lines or accessions suitable for biomass production under very saline conditions
  • Description and categorization of brackish water resources for biosaline (agro)forestry
  • Production
  • Characterization of eco-physiological production conditions for biosaline (agro)forestry in arid and semi-arid areas
  • Development of salinity management systems in good balance with the type of biosaline (agro) forestry.

For further information please visit project website: