Spanning the entire continent of Africa, including 11 nations, the Great Green Wall (GGW) is an ambitious plan to halt desertification at the Sahara’s southern fringe by employing the low-tech solution of tree planting. While the Great Green Wall was first proposed in the 1980s, the grand eco-scheme is closer to becoming a reality after being approved at an international summit last week in Germany as reported by the Guardian.
The Global Environment Facility has pledged $115 million, while other development organizations have put forward promises that could equal up to $3 billion. Proponents of the massive project say it is as much about mitigating poverty in the region as it is about environmental protection. The forest, with a planned width around 9 miles (15 kilometers), would provide food products and protect water sources.
“In its current design, GGW is much more than its name or its trajectory suggest. Its aim is to ensure the planting and integrated development of economically interesting drought-tolerant plant species, water retention ponds, agricultural production systems and other income-generating activities, as well as basic social infrastructures,” Richard Escadafal, chair of the French Scientific Committee on Desertification, told the Guardian.
From east to west, the Great Green Wall will pass through Dijibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal.
(02/10/2010) Over one third of the world’s land surface (38 percent) is threatened with desertification, according to a new study published in theInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. The study found that eight of fifteen eco-regions are threatened by desertification, including coastal areas, the prairies, the Mediterranean region, the savannah, the temperate steppes, the temperate deserts, tropical and subtropical steppes, and the tropical and subtropical deserts.
(12/14/2006) Africa may be able to feed just 25% of its population by 2025 if soil degradation on the continent continues at its current pace, according to a water expert presenting at an upcoming United Nations University (UNU) conference on desertification in Algiers, Algeria. Karl Harmsen, Director of UNU’s Ghana-based Institute for Natural Resources in Africa, says that should soil conditions continue to decline in Africa, nearly 75% of the continent could come to rely on some sort of food aid by 2025.