Reader's Digest Asia Pacific

Bringing Land to Life


Dutch engineer Jurriaan Ruys (pictured left) has invented an ingenious way of restoring vegetation to arid regions of the world. His cheap and simple ‘COCOON’ – shaped like a doughnut and made from biodegrada­ble waxed paper – allows young trees to survive long enough in dry conditions to establish root systems.

Just three years after he completed the first prototype, his Land Life Company invention has been adopted in 20 countries around the world, with 250,000 trees planted. Each COCOON contains the sapling, a drip-fed water system to sustain the tree while it establishe­s roots, and beneficial fungi. “We know if we can get them through the first one or two years, they will survive,” says Ruys.

In a recent project in the desert regions of Spain, where other attempts to grow trees had managed a success rate of only 10–20 per cent, the COCOON provided a 95 per cent survival rate.

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