Combating wind erosion of sandy soils and crop damage in the coastal deserts: Wind tunnel experiments

Arthur Genis, Leonid Vulfson, Jiftah Ben-Asher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In the western Negev desert of Israel frequent sandstorms cause heavy damage to young lettuce, carrot, peanut and potato plants during the planting season. The damage of plants is based mainly on the mechanical impact of saltating sand particles, which causes irreversible injuries to the plant leaves. Current agro-technique measures taken to prevent wind damage to crop in Israel are based on high frequency irrigation. Although the high-frequency irrigation helps bind soil particles together by forming a soil crust, it is associated with the large waste of water, which is not practical under the arid conditions.Application of polyacrylamide (PAM) as a chemical stabilizer has proved to be effective for prevention of soil erosion, saving irrigation water and a stable growth of plants in the early stages. Although the technique of PAM application is not yet used commercially in Israel, the preliminary studies suggested that it might have the potential to reduce the damage to the plant leaves by sandstorms, providing both environmental and agricultural benefits. In this study the effectiveness of PAM for preventing sandstorms in the western Negev was also investigated. Optimal concentration and volume of PAM solution per hectare of bare sandy soil were determined. For this purpose a wind tunnel was used to determine wind velocities of the first and continuous detachment of particles. The ability of PAM application to minimize the damage of plants by sandstorms was experimentally verified using image analysis tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-73
Number of pages5
JournalAeolian Research
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • Crop damage
  • Polyacrylamide
  • Wind erosion
  • Wind tunnel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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