This is the Great Green Wall that Africa built to stop the desert

HE desert SaharaThe planet’s largest is advancing unstoppably; Every year, an average of 1.5 million hectares, equivalent to the surface area of ​​the state of Toledo. Over the last hundred years, the Sahara has grown by 10%, partly due to the impact of climate change. Stopping its advance became the primary goal. Hope has a name: The Great Green Wall.

The first steps towards restoring forests and soils in the Sahara desert environment corresponded to two pioneers.

Kenyan Wangari Maathai (Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2004) launched a women-led initiative called ‘Green Belt Movement‘ has managed to plant more than 40 million trees in many African countries.

Tunisian business woman Sarah Toumitrigger another action on your part,’acacia for everyone‘ He managed to plant more than 650,000 trees in his country.

These two projects are related to the Great Green Wall, which aims to stop the Sahara’s southward advance. 7,700 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide vegetation between Senegal and EritreaIn the driest regions of the Sahel.

So far, almost 18 million hectares of degraded land have been restored, twice as much as Castilla and León.

Aim We will restore approximately 100 million hectares of land in the coming yearsIt is equivalent to twice the area of ​​Spain. To be largest reforestation plan ever undertaken and largest agroforestry project in history.

The largest forestry project in history UN


Until now, Approximately 18 million hectares of degraded land have been restoredWith an area twice that of Castilla and Leon, a mosaic of green and fertile landscapes has been created in the eleven countries of the Sahel: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Sudan and Eritrea.

ten million jobs

The massive Great Green Wall project was launched by the African Union in 2007. tree plantingbut eventually it became one comprehensive rural development initiativeIt is designed to help people and nature confront the increasingly serious consequences of the climate emergency and the degradation of vital ecosystems.

Now the purpose Ensuring the restoration of this 100 million hectare area by 2030, It stores 250 million tons of carbon And Creating employment for 10 million people. be in proportion food and water security, habitat of wild plants and animals and one reason why residents remain in a region ravaged by drought and poverty.

The goal now is to restore 100 million hectares and create 10 million jobs by 2030.

“This initiative is changing the lives of many people in Africa, even in conflict-prone countries. Shows major benefits of restoration in landscapes seriously threatened by climate change“, underlines Mirey Atallah, head of the Nature for Climate Branch of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Vulnerable communities from Senegal to Ethiopia will benefit from the Great Green Wall, designed to promote sustainable development and climate change mitigation. The project’s goals include: Saving traditional farming techniques and species lost in the Sahel due to desertification.

Trees at the Great Green Wall just outside the Walalde region of Senegal. Reuters Link


The project, which also included the restoration of forests and soil, allowed Kollo women in Burkina Faso, for example, to acquire land to grow moringa, a tree whose leaves, seeds and flowers have great nutritional value and numerous therapeutic properties. . .

These entrepreneurs formed a cooperative and built a small store where they prepared and sold products such as soap, cookies and cakes.

Traditional farming techniques

Kollo farmers applied once again traditional technique To save degraded lands and prevent desertification by digging crescent-shaped pits or ditches. Also called ‘zai wells’ and ‘half moons’, the ditches capture small amounts of rainwater and direct it to growing plants.

Another proven method is also applied in the same way: ‘assisted natural regenerationIt consists of fencing areas of land to protect trees and other vegetation from grazing animals and loggers and to allow them to regenerate. Once established, shaded areas can also offer good conditions for cultivation or beekeeping.

Men and women also take agroforestry practices training and other ways to increase your income.

The Great Green Wall is here to prove it It is possible to face a triple global crisis: climate change, loss of nature and biodiversity, pollution and waste crisis..

A caravan in the Sahara desert. Pixabay


The budget of the Great Green Wall is 3.7 billion eurosIt was committed during the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.

Funds are mainly provided by private organizations such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Conservation Group Foundation.

Two years ago, agricultural economist Alisher Mirzabaev from the Development Research Center (ZEF) of the University of Bonn led a study on the optimal measures for agriculture. land restoration in the Sahel.

Trap created by violent conflict

The study titled ‘Economic efficiency and goals of the Great African Green Wall’ published in the journal ‘Nature’ reached the following conclusion: Every dollar invested in land restoration in the Sahel returns an average of $1.2This amount varies between $1.1 and $4.4 in all scenarios.

The document underlines that land restoration activities take at most ten years to reach a “social balance point”. ecosystem benefits at both market and non-trade prices.

The budget for the Great Green Wall is the 3.7 billion euros committed at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.

Financing all proposed land restoration activities, according to the authors 44 billion dollars of investment is needed In the proposed scenario (just over €41,000 million) Restore 28 million hectaresIt is equivalent to the surface of the Italian peninsula.

In all scenarios examined by Mirzabaev and his team, the required investment would be between 18,000 and 70,000 million dollars.

More results from the study: Violent conflicts in the Sahel are the main obstacle to the projectIn 2021, they reduced the accessibility of these degraded ecosystems from 27.9 million hectares to 14.1 million hectares.

Trees in the Sahara Desert. Pixabay


The study highlights activities and locations where land restoration is economically attractive and ecologically sustainable, even after accounting for the lower survival rates of planted trees and grasses. The persistence of factors causing land degradation and the increasing number of violent conflicts hindering land restoration in the Sahel.

Between positive effects They also underline the Great Green Wall climate improvement local, reduction in wind erosion and the services it offers pollinatorsthis too increase crop yield.

Study on the Great Green Wall: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00801-8

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Contact address of the environmental department:krisclimatica@prensaiberica.es

Source: Informacion

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