by Taetske | 6:55 pm
(Last Updated On: September 18, 2019)

Making the Sahara green again

 

Desert

Desert

 

Once upon a time, the Sahara was not a desert, it was a huge lush and wet area

This period was around 10.000 years ago. In Algeria there are the famous rock drawings, which document that once upon a time, instead of blisteringly hot sand, this area was the playground of many animals. In Tassili N’Ajjer there are said to be 50.000 rock drawings from different periods. Most have not been sufficiently studied yet due to the enormous volume of sites and the vast area where they are located.

Many different types of animals used to live in this immense area. There was plenty of food and water as the vegetation was abundant and the region had many lakes, rivers, and streams. There were large forests and it was the ideal place to live.

Here is a YouTube video which shows what it now looks like. The landscape is still fascinating and mysterious but a far cry from the green world it once was.

 

 

What happened to all the water?

Archaeologists and paleoecologists alike have been trying to find an answer to this mystery. What happened with this green zone? How come it transformed into a desert? Could it be human activity (again)? Who were the culprits of this change? Archaeologist David Wright has the following theory. Could it have been humans with their big goat herds which upset the balance?

Mr. Wright studies archaeological and environmental data. They were mainly records of pollen and sediment cores from the same period. He was surprised to discover a certain pattern. When humans started to have big groups of domesticated animals they would take them out to pasture. The problem was that where they past they would leave near barren land. This influenced the atmospheric moisture and that might have been the trigger that set of the change.

This might have been the reason, or perhaps there is another explanation also. It is known that the Sahara has gone through multiple periods of being a desert to then convert into green and again back to desert. This happens when the Earth’s orbital axis changes slightly. This will change the angle at which solar radiation penetrates the atmosphere. At one angle it will cause more rainfall, producing the West African monsoon season, but at another angle, the rain fall will diminish to a much drier spell, lasting thousands of years which automatically converts the land into a desert.

It is also possible that the two competing theories actually worked in concert to increase the speed at which the desert formed. We know that the great Amazon rain forest provides great amounts of moisture to the atmosphere through transpiration, so the reduction of grasses would only contribute to the denuding of the environment.

 

Oasis

Oasis

 

How to make the desert green again

Modern technology is coming up with some amazing solutions which not only make infertile places fertile again, but at the same time can make a big and positive impact on the climate.

From sand to soil in 7 hours is a very interesting TedTalk by Ole Morten Olesen. It is amazing that something so simple can be life-giving and a solution to the many deserts on our planet.

 

 

The use of clay to change sand into fertile soil is great and the fact that trees also thrive in this environment shows we can make a change. The more trees are planted the more oxygen there will be on our earth. Taking into account the huge wildfires all around the globe, it is more than a necessity to plant millions upon millions of trees and make the planet green again.  To convert vast areas like the Sahara, which is much larger than the Continental U.S., into profitable land can sound utopic but with the now existing technology, it is very possible.

 

Desert in Ica in Peru

Desert in Ica in Peru

 

More Green  Projects for difficult soil

There is a project which uses an innovative waterboxx technology. This is meant to restore the sponge function of degraded soils. The Dutch Company Aquapro developed a new capillary drill for planting.

In the University of Valladolid in Spain, tests were made to select species and landforms to find the right situation where this waterboxx technology could be applied. The selection of species was based on biodiversity and landscape preservation. Some 60.000 samplings were cultivated and planted in different parts of Spain. Examples of some of the regions include the Autonomous Region of Castilla y Leon with mining, and forested areas in Riofrio de Aliste.

It was also tested in Leon which has more Alpine conditions and organic soil is lacking. Other areas chosen included San Mateo de Gallegos in the Autonomous Region of Aragon, which has semi-desertic conditions, and in Vadecans which belongs to the Autonomous Region of Cataluna, where you will find Mediterranean mountains with their long dry periods.

The result of this test was that on flatlands it was too expensive and the traditional method of planting was more cost-effective. But in mountainous areas, the waterboxx proved to have a benefit above normal planting methods. The waterboxx technology protects the sapling against cold, snow, and landslides.

 

Preparing harvest

Preparing harvest

 

How to re-green the Middle East

Three-quarters of Jordan is a desert and as a country, it is one of the driest. In a study published by Stanford University in 2017, it was stated that the water situation will get worse in the years to come. By the end of the century, there will be 30% less rainfall and temperatures are expected to rise 6 degrees Celsius. The situation in Jordan reflects many other places on the planet where similar conditions are expected. It is urgent something needs to be done. Nature can be our alley if we treat her well.

A project called Greening The Desert was established 10 years ago by Australian permaculture expert Geoff Lawton. Here he shows people how to live sustainably with limited water and resources. Permaculture (a contraction of permanent agriculture) was developed in the 1970’s by Australian biologist Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Permaculture mimics the natural systems and tries to integrate human activity with natural surroundings. Like that, one creates a sustainable ecosystem.

Mr. Lawton and his Jordanian wife Nadia, bought a 3000 square meter plot in the Dead Sea valley. This area is known for its high salinity levels, it’s extremely hot environment, and scarcity of people willing to consider purchasing land there, even if the price is cheap.

In 2015, the countries of Jordan and Israel signed an agreement to save the Dead Sea and improve access to water in the region. As so often happens with agreements, not much has happened since then due to diplomatic tension, difficulty with funding, and environmentalist objections.

When Mr. Lawton and his team bought the land in 2008, they started with capturing all the water they could and planted hardy trees and nitrogen-fixing plants. These measures provide the garden with anti-evaporation strategies. All the water is recycled, the whole project runs on solar power, and this forest garden now serves as an institute. Everybody is welcome, visitors from other countries and the local communities are being shown how permaculture functions.

This YouTube video shows you the 10-year timeline of the Greening the Desert Project.

 

 

People also started to buy small plots of land and following the guidelines of Mr. Lawton can now boast of their own small oasis.

 

 

Conclusion

There are many more innovating projects out there with the capacity to make Mother Earth green again. The human race is capable of doing great and good things. We need to spread the word before it is too late and more of our beautiful Planet has been converted into a desert.

 

Source: Smithsonian, March 24, 2017, article by Lorraine Boissoneault, Wikipedia

Photo Source: Pixabay

 

It is very strange that on the one hand, so many people come up with great ideas to make our planet greener, while in other places people are chopping trees as if they were a problem. Not taking into account that trees provide our oxygen. Please read the following post about 800 year old trees which have to go because of human stupidity and greed.

 

800 Year Old Trees In Danger, Unbelievable Government Decision

Comments

Russ Green

This post is brilliant, more people need to be aware of what is going on in our world, I have heard about how re-introducing various animals to desert land can have wonderful knock on effects, I think it’s such a pity that every intelligent scientist and genius that comes along are being made to put their knowledge to building bombs and weapons, what a beautiful planet this would be if their intelligence was put toward making the world a better place instead, thank you for sharing this interesting and informative post.   

Sep 17.2019 | 07:53 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Russ,

    Nice to see you again. Thank you for your comment.

    So true. If the human race would use its full capacity for good and positive things our Planet would definitely look very different. Now it is a constant struggle to repair the damage done by a few greedy and ignorant people. I call it the battle between good and bad.

    I just wonder what future generations will think about our actions. I bet they will not be pleased. The movement of young people taking to the streets and protesting the inaction of many governments is a clear sign.

    Regards, Taetske

    Sep 17.2019 | 10:50 am

Marvin

Hey Taetske, I’m all for adding more green to the world!. Thanks for this well researched article on how innovative technology makes the deserts green again. I didn’t realize so much was being done on this front and I’m pleasantly surprised. That time lapse video of permaculture is absolutely fascinating and a must watch, thanks for sharing

Sep 17.2019 | 08:15 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Marvin,

    I also liked the timelapse video. This is a small project with a lot of manpower over the years but with such a beautiful result. Reminds me of my beginning days in the south of Spain. In 1981 I bought a ruin and over the years build it up to be my little paradise. After my awful experience with Roundup in the first year, I became green.

    Did you see the green widget under my photo? Please have a look as it is a good cause.

    Thank you for your visit and comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.

    Regards, Taetske

    Sep 17.2019 | 10:44 am

Jones

Mother earth is in great danger, we, habitants of mother earth, we’re not helping issues. But as it has been written in the article technological advances are been made to see that our planet is sustained and made to flourish back as it was in ages past. I really liked the difficult sand project, its really going to help make the soil fertile and germination will be able to come up in places like the desert.

I believe making a vast proportion of our earth like the Sahara fertile to germinate trees is going to change the history of our planet. It will prolong its survival because more trees mean more oxygen and this means it’s going to continue to be habitable. 

This is a really good step towards the survival of the Earth, it will be great. This is a nice article that should be shared around to let people know what’s coming up. I really enjoyed reading through. I love it

Sep 17.2019 | 08:17 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Jones,

    Thank you for your visit and leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.

    When I started to investigate for my post I was surprised to see so many projects worldwide. Some are better than others but overall it is good to see this green trend being so present. I would wish it would be more talked about. 

    There are other projects where seawater is turned into sweet water but that is very cost-intensive. I prefer to write about lesser-known projects.

    Did you by chance notice the green widget under my photo? Please have a look as it might resonate with you.

    Regards, Taetske 

    Sep 17.2019 | 10:38 am

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