The Great Green wall Grows and Grows (in Paris too)

By JW.Dowey - 07 Dec 2015 9:44:32 GMT
The Great Green wall Grows and Grows (in Paris too)

The Dogon people of Mali grow trees in their town at Bandiagara Cliff but struggle to prevent desertification outside in the encroaching sands Bandiagara image; Credit: © Shutterstock

The African achievement of a line of forest to contain the Sahara isn’t obviously connected to climate. It certainly affects desertification, which itself affects climate as much as any other cause. Deforestation is an example, as the 3rd largest cause of greenhouse gas emissions. The African Restoration Initiative (AFR100) aims to make forests into great carbon sinks that absorb carbon dioxide gas by means of photosynthesis. Such a natural approach is at least guaranteed to work in known ways. The Green Belt Movement, for example, is combating African forest degradation as well as desertification. Countries involved include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda. Meanwhile Chad is providing a useful exhibition on GGW (The Great Green Wall) progress in Paris this week.

Other facets to the forest include providing sustenance. 350 million people in less developed communities and indigenous populations use wood as their main source of heating and cooking, while hunting and gathering forest products provides daily subsistence when there is little else. The advantage of the Green Wall is that it provides many opportunities for cooperation between those with technical expertise, conservation groups and finance. A billion dollars (920 euros) have so far been allocated by partners, alongside a further half million from private sources. The greenery acts like a beacon to attract those who need to protect their land area. It also has technical help from the German ministry for economic cooperation and development, the US-based World Resources Institute, the World Bank and the African Union.

Today sees the resumption of the Paris COP21 Conference where 195 nations are involved. Along with African countries, the South Americans have similar forestry objectives. So many hectares of the Atlantic Forest and Amazonia have been lost this year, that the death and destruction of the past seem to have been forgotten. Even the IUCN has become involved in practical economy in terms of food security and actual income. The Bonn Challenge in 2011 began the restoration of 150 million hectares (375million acres) of world forest. Much more could be achieved with a further 2 billion hectares. This would produce at least 11% of the carbon absorption needed to bring down the emissions gap. Using the Africans as a guide, Brazil and Peru, Colombia and Venezuela may be able to provide reassurance that their forests won’t disappear as many did in the Sahel. Sustainability is possibly one of the neglected area of the climate change equation. The forest stands as a renewable resource, not only of energy, but also of life and oxygen, carbon sink and pure enjoyment!

Water problems including desertification are well covered from China to California, and even the Philippines in the article we have here.