Planting Trees in the Semi-desert
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 us unique is that we have managed to run a forestry commercially in a semi-desert areas.
By establishing plantations in semi-desert rural areas, Better Globe 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. We 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.
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 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 100 hectare pilot site are Mukau (Melia volkensii), Neem (Azadirachta indica) and, soon, Acacia (Acacia senegal).
Mukau, the most important species for Better Globe, 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.
Better Globe has planted Neem for its oil, which is used in biological pesticides, and it also has medicinal properties. We are now also in the process of obtaining selected seeds of Acacia Senegal and working on establishing a way of planting different origins of this species.
It produces the valuable commodity gum arabic, a stabilizer that has many industrial applications in the food, beverage and printing industry. All these species are adapted to the local environment, ie hot and semi-dry, with irregular precipitation. In particular, Melia volkensii and Acacia senegal are extremely resistant to drought.
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