Desertification is a serious threat to arid and semiarid environments which cover 40% of the global land surface and are populated by approximately 1 billion humans. Of the 588 million acres (238 million hectares) that make the total land area of Algeria, 200 million are natural deserts, 20 million represent the steppe regions threatened by desertification.
During The War of Independence, between 1954 and 1962, Algeria’s forest heritage had suffered serious damage as a result of the French occupation army’s aerial bombardments.
In a program launched in 1970 by Saïd Grim and backed by President Houari Boumediene, the past forty years have seen a reforestation program of the vast steppe of Algeria to counter desertification.
Today ‘The Green Dam’ (also called ‘The Green Wall’ and ‘alsadu al’akhdar aljazayiriu’ in Arabic) covers an area of 930 mi (1500 km) by 12 mi (20 km): or 7.5 million acres (3 million hectares).
Driving back the desert is an ongoing task, though. A study on the rehabilitation and extension of the Dam was launched in 2012, an action plan was proposed in 2016, meetings and workshops held in 2018.
In 2019, Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, claimed to have planted 4 billion trees in three months. The Green Legacy Initiative was championed by the country’s Nobel peace prize-winning Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.
The highlight was on 29 July when Ethiopians across the country turned out to help with planting 350 million tree seedlings over a 12-hour period. They gave a very precise number – 353,633,660 trees planted that day. A further 1.3 billion seedlings were grown, but not planted.
The Gambia, which is one of the poorest countries in western Africa, launched a large project to restore 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of forests, mangroves, and savannas, using climate-resilient tree and shrub species.
The six-year project will be implemented in four of The Gambia’s seven regions, and aims to make over 57,000 people more resilient to the negative effects of climate change. Of these people 11,550 will benefit directly, and 46,200 indirectly.
Discover solution 12: carbon free aluminium smelting that could eliminate the equivalent of 7 million tons of GHG emissions
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