Planting Trees in the Semi-desert

Planting Trees in the Semi-desert

Tree planting in areas where nothing else grows...

Globally, 48 football pitches of forest are lost every minute1 and by 2030 the need for water will be 40 percent larger than the supply of clean water2. What makes Better Globe Forestry Ltd. (“BGF”) unique is the way to manage and run a forestry commercially in a semi-desert area.

By establishing plantations in semi-desert rural areas, Better Globe Forestry Ltd. reaches the people who are in need of help to self-help, and at the same time we transform practically unusable land into lush plantations. There are large areas of land in Sub-Saharan Africa that is mostly considered worthless. The land is not fit for agriculture or farming, and it can’t sustain livestock or anything else that could be of use to anyone.

The local population lack both the resources and knowledge to take care of it in a way that makes it usable again. They have in most cases already abandoned the land and the result is large dry areas. If nothing is done to improve the conditions by, for example, planting trees, eventually all the soil will be flushed or blown away, and all that’s left is the red desert landscape that is so common in places like rural Kenya.

But that doesn’t mean that the land actually is worthless. BGF have spent the last 10 years refining our processes to be able to make this land green again. The picture at the top of the page shows the very clear line between where our plantation begins and the red dry land. By working systematically for a long time, you can plant trees which, in turn, help to reduce erosion and change the microclimate.

Kiambere plantation during early spring. Note how other plants have started to grow in between trees.
Kiambere plantation during early spring. Note how other plants have started to grow in between trees.

When the trees are in place and have taken root, they give shade and attract moisture and nutrients in the soil. The land becomes more and more fertile every year, and you can see a big difference already after a few years in semi-desert areas. It causes wildlife to return, such as mammals, birds, amphibians and insects. The local microclimate changes and crops yielding annual harvests can be planted between the trees.

Our trees stop the erosion

Better Globe Forestry Ltd. has shown that it is possible to completely stop the great erosion around Lake Kiambere. This is done by planting trees and by blocking erosion gullies with thousands of dams. The tree species planted on this 200 hectare pilot site are Mukau (Melia volkensii), Neem (Azadirachta indica) and, soon, Acacia (Acacia senegal).

Mukau, the most important species for BGF, is planted because of its superior mahogany like wood. Our studies have shown that they can be planted all year long, provided that they receive adequate care and irrigation. Growth is excellent, with plants up to 3 meters in height, after just one and a half years.

Example of what an area affected by erosion may look like.
Example of what an area affected by erosion may look like.

BGF has planted Neem trees for its oil, which is used in biological pesticides, and it also has medicinal properties. BGF has also planted Acacia Senegal, which produces the valuable commodity gum arabic, a stabilizer that has many industrial applications in the food, beverage and printing industry. These species are adapted to the local environment, i.e. hot and semi-dry lands, with irregular precipitation. In particular, Melia volkensii and Acacia senegal are incredibly resistant to drought.

From 2020 however, BGF will only focus on planting millions of the most well-known medical tree in the world as a cash crop tree. The tree in question, Moringa oleifera, usually called Moringa or Drumstick tree, is in Africa even referred to as “Moringa-the miracle tree, that cures 300 diseases”.

With its unusually high potential for health benefits and profitability, Moringa will be BGF’s new fast-growing “cash crop tree”, which will more than cover the funds needed to pay customers back the promised return for the 5th to 19th year. BGF will seek to own the whole value-chain; from planting the trees to the processing of the leaves and seeds, and the distribution and sale of ready-made products from our new company started in Norway for this very purpose, called “Max Heath AS”

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Please feel free to read more here on the website, if you have other questions. We have a FAQ page with the 50 most frequently asked questions, and you can of course contact us at

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Each Tuesday evening at 8.30 pm we host a live-streamed information meeting online, where you can get more information. It is free of course, and you will be able to ask questions. Book your seat
Audun Turoey
Joao Pessoa, Brazil

I became a customer of Better Globe in 2006. The idea of getting a financial return from trees that reduce extreme poverty in Africa while creating a greener future for us all was very appealing to me. And after travelling in 2011 to see their work with underprivileged farming communities in Kenya and children’s education in Uganda, I became convinced that Better Globe is one of the greenest and most socially responsible companies in the world. So for me, it is a privilege to continue to support this effort and follow the incredible results we create together. Getting involved with Better Globe is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

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