Applications of the COCOON

The COCOON can be applied to projects of all sizes and can be used for different tree types and soil conditions. The various applications of the COCOON include nature restoration, landscaping, highway planting and productive trees.

Nature restoration

The COCOON is a key tool to restore ecosystems that have been damaged by overgrazing, tree cutting, droughts, floods or urban or industrial/mining developments. The COCOON can be deployed on large stretches of land, including areas with slopes and hard topsoils where traditional irrigation does not work. Restored ecosystems improve rainwater infiltration and groundwater recharge, provide shade, increase soil organic matter content and enhance soil life, - all enabling other vegetation to grown around the trees planted. The value of the land often increases as a result.
Nature restoration along the Bergrivier in South Africa, wild olive and almond trees

Productive trees

We have successfully applied the COCOON for Moringa peregrina in the Middle East. The leaves of the Moringa tree are used in feed mills to back out imports or locally produced components that require (heavy) irrigation. Moringa leaves are used by livestock, poultry farms and aquaculture. We have successfully planted avocado and mango with small holder farmers in East Africa. In Spain, we run several demonstration projects on various nut trees, in cooperation with research institutes and farmers.

18 month year old avocado trees in Kenya

Urban and highway landscaping

The COCOON is used as a sustainable solution for greening highways, urban streets as well as individual homes in dry climates. It is a solution for communities that are concerned about water conservation but still want to enjoy the safety, health and environmental benefits trees bring to city living. It is also used for highway greening and to reduce the amount of sand dust on the road.

Highway landscaping in the UAE

Benefits of the COCOON

The COCOON saves water, is low-cost and biodegradable. It can be used at scale to ameliorate degraded land and it offers a "no hassle" solution, inherent to its design.

Water efficiency

The COCOON requires 1-10% of the water used by traditional tree irrigation systems. This approach results in a more responsible, sustainable use of water. The approach also reduces the exposure to increasing water prices, water use legislation or water disputes. Restoring top soil with the COCOON improves rainwater infiltration, allowing the tree to make better use of rainfall.

Low-cost

The COCOON costs 3 to 10 times less than alternatives such as drip irrigation (e.g. the initial investment and running costs). It is also cheaper than planting without a support tool and coming back with a watering truck 3-5 times in the first summer to manually water all plants (a method often applied). The low cost base makes planting feasible where existing irrigation techniques had previously made planting cost prohibitive.

Biodegradable

The COCOON bio degrades after 3-6 months and becomes substrate to the soil, making it both an eco-friendly solution and a no-hassle solution. There are no maintenance or removal costs associated with the COCOON.

Scalability

The COCOON is a scalable approach in space and time. Since no local water or electricity connection is required, it can be used to plant large number of trees in flat zones and on slopes. It can be used to plant in each season, including the hot and dry summer period, which is of great (cost) value to any restoration project.

Survival and resilience

Our experiments show that native trees planted with the COCOON can reach survival rates of 80 up to 95% in areas where trees planted without support show survival rates of 0 to 40%. Through the years, trees planted with the COCOON and mycorrhizae show higher growth rates and increased resilience against drought. These results do depend on species, climatic and soil conditions.
The COCOON is 100% biodegradable, desintegrating into substrate for the plant

Impact of nature restoration and landscaping

Sustainable nature restoration and urban landscaping with the COCOON creates value for nature and people.

Inspiration and pride for the local and international community

Bringing back nature is an inspiration to local communities and visitors. People take pride in restoring their land and building their national heritage. Especially in hot and dry climates, people value the presence of trees and nature in general.

Land value

Re-greening the land and adding trees will increase the value of the land over time. Degraded land can typically be acquired at a low cost, while the value of surrounding fertile, vegetated lands is 5-10 times higher. Using the COCOON, degraded land can be turned into valuable land with more potential.

Reducing stress on resources

Increasingly we are becoming aware of the challenges to sustain and improve the quality of our lives in a world of increasing demand and depleting resources. As the production and usage of resources is interlinked (food, water, energy, soils, CO2), integrated solutions must be developed and deployed. Restoring nature by planting trees on degraded land is the most water efficient way of addressing this challenge and has a positive impact on the long-term availability of resources.

Trees are the earth's natural way to capture CO2. A full-grown forest may absorb between 1 and 10 t/ha of CO2. A healthy mycorrhizae system may increase the CO2 uptake by a factor of 2 to 3. If the full cost for re-greening is to be carried by CO2 credits, a price of 5-10 euros per ton would suffice to break even.

Quality of the ecosystem

Planting native trees is a starter for ecosystem revitalization. As trees grow, they have multiple positive effects on the ecosystem:
  • The trees' roots improve the water catchment in the soil and decrease water losses due to erosion;
  • Soil erosion is reduced, as the tree canopy acts as a buffer for intense rainfall;
  • Newly grown trees create shade and humus for shrubs and other vegetation to grow in the tree surroundings;
  • Soil quality and soil life will increase. Over time the soil around the tree will turn darker and more humid

Benefits to health and society

In addition, there is extensive research outlining the positive effects of nature on communities and individuals, from health effects to a reduction in crime levels.