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Greening Deserts

Posted: 10 May 2019, 11:53
by Jennifer Eila
Worldwide it is an issue that there are many deserted areas, and partially (like in the Sahel) the desert gains more and more land. (If you're interested in how the Sahara came into existence, you might want to look at How The Sahara Desert Was Made - It Used To Be Green.)
But there is hope.
There are projects from all over the world that prove that there can be flourishing greenery where before had been a desert, and looking over it all I come to the conclusion that - with using the proper methods - there is nearly no spot on earth that can't be turned green.

So I'd love to talk here about some amazing projects worldwide whose aim it is to (re-)green their landscape, what leads not only to a healthy environment, but to healthier, happier and wealthier people, too.

I guess the first project that crossed my way was Green Ethiopia. It is fascinating to see how regions can change in only a few years by a well organized planting program. Regreening Ethiopia's Highlands

Another project is the Green Belt Movement, initiated by the Kenyan environmentalist and political activist Wangaari Maathai who was the first African woman to be awarded in 2004 with a Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari Maathai & The Green Belt Movement.

A big but widely unknown project is the Great Green Wall. The Sahara desert expands more and more into the South, which leads to fertile soil blown away by the wind, poor harvests, low incomes, starving people, weak children, and a youth without hope that leave their home country to find a place to live elsewhere - what leads to less financial support for the families they leave behind. So the idea of the Great Green Wall rose. The idea is to plant a green stripe of about 15 km width across the African continent to stop the desert and enable the population a good living. The project started in 2007, and meanwhile it has been realised that it doesn't work as one big project because the situation in the different countries are not the same; meanwhile it's more a patchwork rug of different local tree planting projects; and especially in the West African countries like Senegal and Niger big impacts have already been made.
The "Great Green Wall" Didn't Stop Desertification, but it Evolved Into Something That Might
The Great Green Wall of Africa: will it help to fight climate change?
Expanding Africa's Great Green Wall

China fights desertification, too. At the edge of the Kubuqi desert people turn with modern technology the desert into farmable land. A great battle for green land

And finally there is a video not about an actual project, but an inspirational story about tree planting and its effects: The Man Who Planted Trees

Re: Greening Deserts

Posted: 10 May 2019, 17:58
by Pianobrent
The ranch wasn't a desert, but it was almost devoid of trees until one couple decided to take action: ... -hXgkzsqaE

They started Instituto Terra to help others reclaim the land in Brazil.

Re: Greening Deserts

Posted: 11 May 2019, 18:20
by Ywen Craobh
Oooh right up my alley...
Be sure to check out all the info about Geoff Lawton's "Greening the Desert"
It's nothing short of miraculous. The project is in Jordan (where his wife is from), on land that was not only desertified but also salted from so many years of chemicals and watering from the top... The long version of the video with a check in 8 years later is here:
There's also a more recent check in with photos here: ... ct-jordan/

And yes I think it's the Ethiopian project that's mentioned in the Irish film "Dare to Be Wild"...

It's totally possible to re-green devastated land, and trees, plants, mycelium etc. are the way...

Re: Greening Deserts

Posted: 13 May 2019, 08:11
by james1
Also check out Rajendra Singh who has been regreening Rajasthan, his technique of building small bunds across the landscape has also been used in the uk to prevent flooding.