Why is Africa building a Great Green Wall? A film by Amelia Martyn-Hemphill for BBC World Hacks
- Eleven countries are planting a wall of trees from east to west across Africa, just under the southern edge of the Sahara desert. The goal is to bring the dry lands back to life.
8,000km Green Wall of Trees and Plants Will Provide Food Security for Millions of People Interesting Engineering
- The Great Green Wall is an initiative of the African Union to combat climate change and desertification by planting millions of trees across the entire African continent. The project started as the idea to build a green wall stretching from East to West across Africa. It has since evolved into a giant project consisting of a mosaic of vegetation being planted throughout the Sahara desert, increasing biodiversity and contributing to the well-being of local inhabitants. Once the wall is completed it will be the largest living structure on earth.
- The wall will start in the Sahel region of Africa on the Southern edge of the Sahara desert. The area suffers severe, ongoing drought, a lack of food and is involved in conflicts over how to best manage natural resources. The green wall will provide the local population with jobs, food security and hope. The wall isn’t just a physical manifestation of the future, its organizers hope that it will serve as a symbol of the ability to overcome struggle and adversity for many generations to come.
- David Milsom, Creative Strategist at venturethree, describes the project saying, "The Great Green Wall is a hugely progressive and ambitious project, not just for Africa, for the whole world. It’s more than just an environmental initiative; it’s a symbol of hope that humanity can reverse the effects of climate change. ‘Growing a World Wonder’ lets people experience this for themselves, in incredible Virtual Reality.”
How a 2 hectare forest in Bangalore’s heart has lowered temperature and raised its water table Maya Kilpadi; earthamag; 18 May 2016 pdf The Better India; 5 Jun 2016
- The summer temperatures in Bangalore this year have been cause for particularly high concern among its residents, with some claiming that daytime temperature shot up to 41 degrees Celsius one day in April. This summer has surely felt hotter than most old Bangaloreans remember them ever being. But, there are some parts of the city that have kept the unrelenting heat away. Walk around the lush Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Campus and you will encounter several species of trees, native and exotic. The 400 acre campus is home to 112 species of trees and 45 species of grasses. There are gulmohar lined avenues, large, raintree-shaded bowers, and colourful bursts of laburnum, jacaranda, and tabebuia. And then you walk past the Centre for Ecological Sciences department (CES) and you stop short! The vegetation here is unlike anything you’ve encountered on the rest of the campus so far. Gigantic, woody vines weave endlessly like lace through a lush canopy, the trees are thick and dense, letting only a modicum of sunlight through, and all around you, in the cool air, is the hum of insects and birds. If you feel like you are in the rainforests of Agumbe, you’re not alone. You are in IISc’s mini-forest, a forest planted by a team of researchers led by senior faculty member Dr. T.V. Ramachandra (Energy and Wetlands Research Group).
China restores great swaths of denuded forests with exemplary conservation program Lacy Cooke; inhabit; 21 Mar 2016
- For years China was notorious for denuding its forests of vegetation to expand their economy. The economy grew, but water sources were tainted, air polluted, and animal habitats demolished. Only a few years ago, just 2 percent of China’s forests were undisturbed, and to make matters worse, the destruction of forests leads to one fifth of climate change-inducing emissions. Horrendous floods in 1998 that stemmed from the lack of trees prompted the government to finally take action. They implemented the National Forest Conservation Program, and a new study reveals it’s working. [...] they banned logging in many areas and then paid farmers, who were accustomed to earning money by cutting down trees for wood, to plant trees instead. Some local citizens were even paid to monitor forests and report any illegal logging. After several years of this, the Chinese government claimed their conservation project had begun to show signs of progress, a claim confirmed in a new independent analysis.
China’s eco-civilization plan calls for 23% forest cover by 2020 Josh Marks; inhabit; 30 May 2016
- Besides the United States, China has done more than any other country to contribute to climate change. But while China’s greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly warming the planet, the Asian nation is quickly shifting its focus to climate change mitigation to ensure a sustainable biosphere for future generations. According to a new United Nations report, China plans to build an “ecological civilization” that could be a model for the rest of the world. The project includes an initiative to cover nearly one quarter of the country with forests by 2020. The report, titled “Green is gold: The strategy and actions of China’s ecological civilization,” was launched at the UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. Zhu Guangyao, executive vice president of the Chinese Ecological Civilization Research and Promotion Association, called ecological civilization a new concept in the development of human civilization that requires respect for nature. “The outdated view that man can conquer nature and ignore the bearing capacity of resources and the environment should be completely abandoned,” said Guangyao. “Conscientious efforts should be made to live in harmony with nature, allowing for a new approach to modernization characterized by such co-existence.”
Green is gold: The strategy and actions of China’s ecological civilization REPORTfrom UN Environment Programme; refiefweb; 26 May 2016
- The Chinese government has been paying close attention to ecological and environmental issues for many years. It has highlighted Ecological Civilization (or Eco-civilization for short) and environmental protection as a long-term strategy vital to the country’s modernization and its people’s well-being. China started framing environmental protection as a fundamental national policy in the 1980s and established sustainable development as a national strategy in the 1990s. At the beginning of the 21st century, the government proposed a “Scientific Outlook on Development” that is people-centered, fully coordinated, and environmentally sustainable. In particularly, since late 2012, the government has incorporated Eco-civilization into the “Five-in-One” blueprint of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which outlines a commitment to “innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development”.
Watch: How Europe is greener now than 100 years ago Washinton Post
- Animated graphics
UK National Forest
How millions of trees brought a broken landscape back to life John Vidal; Guardian; 7 Aug 2016
- Twenty-five years ago, the Midlands villages of Moira, Donisthorpe and Overseal overlooked a gruesome landscape. The communities were surrounded by opencast mines, old clay quarries, spoil heaps, derelict coal workings, polluted waterways and all the other ecological wreckage of heavy industry. The air smelt and tasted unpleasant and the land was poisoned. There were next to no trees, not many jobs and little wildlife. Following the closure of the pits, people were deserting the area for Midlands cities such as Birmingham, Derby and Leicester. The future looked bleak. Today, a pastoral renaissance is taking place. Around dozens of former mining and industrial communities, in what was the broken heart of the old Midlands coalfield, a vast, splendid forest of native oak, ash and birch trees is emerging, attracting cyclists, walkers, birdwatchers, canoeists, campers and horse-riders.
The National Forest 25 Years of Transformation thenationalforest; YouTube; 19 Jul 2016
- Showcasing the transformation of The National Forest over 25 Years.
National Trust - Thorneythwaite
I’m sorry if rewilding hurts farmers, but we need it Nick Cohen; The Guardian; 3 Sept 2016
- The National Trust’s purchase of Thorneythwaite sheep farm is part of a plan to reshape the landscape to meet the threat of global warming
Reforestation in Norway: showing what’s possible in Scotland and beyond Rewilding Britain; 20 Jan 2016
- Scotland and Norway suffered large-scale deforestation over centuries but over the last 100 years the trees have been returning to Norway. It could be happening in Scotland too
Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them? Henry Fountain; New York Times; 20 Oct 2017
- The country lost most of its trees long ago. Despite years of replanting, it isn’t making much progress.
- "When Iceland was first settled at the end of the ninth century, much of the land on or near the coast was covered in birch woodlands. "'The people that came here were Iron Age culture,' Dr. Halldorsson said. 'And they did what Iron Age culture did.' "The settlers slashed and burned the forests to grow hay and barley, and to create grazing land. They used the timber for building and for charcoal for their forges. By most accounts, the island was largely deforested within three centuries. "'They removed the pillar out of the ecosystem,' Dr. Halldorsson said. "Eruptions over the ensuing centuries from some of Iceland’s many volcanoes deposited thick layers of volcanic material. The ash, while rich in nutrients, made for very fragile, poor soil that couldn’t hold water and moved around as the wind blew. "As a result, Iceland is a case study in desertification, with little or no vegetation, though the problem is not heat or drought. About 40 percent of the country is desert, Dr. Halldorsson said. 'But there’s plenty of rainfall — we call it "wet desert."' The situation is so bad that students from countries that are undergoing desertification come here to study the process."
Planes Can Plant 900,000 Trees A Day With Seed Bombs Culture of Awareness; 10 Apr 2016
- Old military planes are now being reconditioned and refitted with new mechanics. Using these planes, we can drop tree bombs instead of landmines.
Aerial bombardment to reforest the earth Paul Brown, Environment Correspondent; Guradian; 2 Sep 1999
Old Military Planes Could Drop 900,000 Tree-Bombs a Day Brian Merchant; TreeHugger; 19 Oct 2010
NASA scientist is using drones to plant 1 billion trees per year Joe McCarthy; Global Citizen; May 24, 2016
Thailand seed bombs: aerial reforestation to foster new growth on damaged land by 2017 TomoNews US; 5 Jul 2013 The Thai government has initiated a five-year pilot project that uses aerial reforestation to boost forest regeneration. Aerial reforestation is a technique used to quickly plant large numbers of new trees. Local tree seeds are mixed with soil and shaped into small balls called seed bombs. The seed bombs are dropped from airplanes over deteriorated forests.