Thousands of Acacia trees are being planted in Senegal in an attempt to curb desertification.
The great green wall
6th July, 2012
Africa’s answer to climate change is a proposed 4,000-mile, nine-mile wide wall of trees stretching from Senegal to Djibouti. Designed to stop encroaching desertification, some interpret the project (and its benefits) literally whilst others see it as more of a metaphor. Despite this split, the project is now taking root in Senegal where they have already planted 50,000 acres of trees.
Senegal’s capitol city Dakar sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean on a peninsula. It’s at least a thousand miles to the Sahara desert yet the air today is so thick with sand that the tops of buildings disappear in a sandy haze.
It’s the worst sand storm in a year and people here are worried that climate change will cause these events to be more common. Seasons are shifting across the region. In Senegal the rainy season used to start in July or August but now it doesn’t start until September. Decreased rain - along with over grazing of land - is causing an increase in deserts across the Sahel. Roughly 40 per cent of Africa is now affected by desertification and according to the UN, two-thirds of Africa’s arable land could be lost by 2025 if this trend continues.
Senegal is one of 11 countries in the Sahel region of Africa looking towards the same solution to the desertification problem: The Great Green Wall. The goal of the project is to plant a wall of trees, 4,300 miles long and 9 miles wide, across the African continent, from Senegal to Djibouti. African leaders hope the trees will trap the sands of the Sahara and halt the advance of the desert.
Papa Sarr is Technical...
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