Publications / 2022 Proceedings of the 39th ISARC, Bogotá, Colombia

Semiarid Terrain Alteration for Converting Dryland into Arable Land - Construction and Earthmoving Perspectives

Moshe Alamaro, Joseph Louis and Jochen Teizer
Pages 646-652 (2022 Proceedings of the 39th ISARC, Bogotá, Colombia, ISBN 978-952-69524-2-0, ISSN 2413-5844)

Close to 15% of the world's surface area is semiarid where 1.1 billion of the most vulnerable people on earth live. In contrast to arid, semiarid regions have substantial rainfall albeit it quickly evaporates and therefore vegetation and biomass growth are limited. A new concept calls for terrain alteration by earth moving to construct north-south slopes where on the northern slope in the northern hemisphere solar irradiation is reduced, causing in turn a reduction in evapotranspiration (ET), allowing for cultivation. The dimension of the slopes (or ridges) is on the order of 5-10 meters and its slope angle is in the range of 15-20 degrees. This paper provides the motivation for such development and an overview of the necessary research and development for implementation. It also focuses specifically on the topic of earthmoving operations that are involved, the equipment it requires, and discusses the potential for employing robotics and automated construction methods to improve the economic and environmental feasibility of such an endeavor.

Keywords: Cultivation; Earth moving equipment; Food and agriculture; Automatic and robotic construction