Nopal Cactus contributes to local economy development and reforestation in semiarid zones with no traditional agricultural land value, and the added bonus of revenue from global carbon credits.
While arid zones are found all over the world, they are typical of many developing countries and feature in 24 of what have come to be called the least developed countries (LDC), in which one third of the world’s population lives. In the recent past, when there were fewer people, local people coexisted harmoniously with their ecosystems and were bound by a shared sense of resilience and sustainability, this is no longer the case, and marginal lands are increasingly subject to damaging and irreversible exploitation, including land /soil degradation and extended desertification.
The special characteristics that make the Nopal Cactus adaptable to arid conditions are related to the shape of several of its organs. Research concluded that the shallow and extensive root system enabled the plant to exploit scarce rainfall in such environment. On the other hand, isolated rainfall induces the formation of secondary roots, which increase the contact surface with the soil and this facilitates uptake of water and nutrients. At the beginning of a period of drought, the roots contract radially and this helps to reduce water loss.
The Nopal Cactus makes a valuable contribution to the food security and nutrition of people and livestock throughout the world wherever water is scarce. The plant is highly versatile and in addition to it is used for used to protect the environment in which it is grown, bio fuels, organic fertilizers and other value ad consumer products. Nopal Cactus plants can provide the basis for economically viable rural communities.
Creating local wealth through the addition of Carbon Exchange revenue can be achieved in areas where this species of plant can be established but nothing else will grow. The Nopal Cactus is one of the best options as a carbon sequestration and a carbonate mineral sink, absorbing, holding and transforming excess CO2 from the atmosphere, and the revenue sharing of the exchange revenue will be directly passed to the local economy where the farming exists.