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Project February 16, 2012

Senegal: Great Green Wall of Trees to Halt the Advance of the Sahara


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Climate change disproportionately affects the poorest people in the world. This is acutely visible in Africa. Rainfall in the Sahel region has declined by as much as 30 percent in the last century. Roughly 20 percent of tree species can no longer exist locally in this wide savanna just south of the Sahara Desert. As unpredictable seasonal rains make farming difficult and hunger a way of life, African leaders across the continent are looking to the same solution: the Great Green Wall.

It's envisioned as a physical wall of trees stretching more than 5,000 miles from Senegal to Djbouti. Roughly nine miles wide, the wall is an attempt to stop the steady advance of the Sahara desert. It would be made of native trees which block wind and sand from moving southward, improve soil quality for farmers, and provide habitat for animals.

Success of the Great Green Wall is dependent on the international collaboration of 11 African nations and cooperation from communities in the Sahel.

Senegal is a regional leader on the project and has planted more than 300 miles of trees. Radio producer Bobby Bascomb will report from Sahel communities in Senegal that have already planted their portion of the wall. She will examine projects that are greening the desert and how communities are adapting to a new landscape.


A yellow elephant


Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change