The Green Wall will be 7,700km in length and 15km wide
Deserts do not remain fixed in one place, but expand or contract depending on many factors. Over long periods of time, a desert takes over an entire country.
Currently many people and countries are concerned about the immigration crisis but within a few years we are going to see even larger migrant populations as they find it increasingly difficult to find food in these regions due to climate change, overworking of the land, and the expansion of the deserts. There all be more and more tensions between the populations as they will have no other choice but to cross borders in search of food for survival.
The Sahara Desert has already swallowed North Africa, and is moving slowly south. It has found a major ally in climate change, which is reducing rainfall over the land it absorbs. If the countries currently designated as Sub-Saharan wish to keep that description, there is work to do.
This is why the International Perfume Foundation includes this important project within the World Heritage Program (WHP) supporting local organisations.
The WHP African Green Wall Project seeks to help plant a forest buffer to hold back the Sahara stretching 7,700 km across the continent from Senegal to Djibouti, 15 km wide and spanning 11 countries. It’s easy to imagine a literal belt of trees, but the project is more complex than that. It will be a mixture of agricultural and forest areas, each section modified to the needs of the local communities so that the trees can contribute to food security, poverty alleviation, biodiversity as well as stopping desertification.
It will take time, but if the energy can be sustained and best practices shared, it will be a model of the fight back against desertification, climate change, and a significant and needed source of food and medicinal plants.