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Planting trees – way to growth in African drylands

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Wednesday, 06 February 2013

Planting trees – way to growth in African drylands

“Agroforestry is the future of agriculture in the drylands and sub-humid regions”, Dr Chris Reij of the World Resource Institute said in the European Parliament on Tuesday  29 January.
United Nations Drylands Ambassador Dennis Garrity adds that the planting of trees such as gao, an indigenous form of acacia, had “improved the region’s ability to cope with drought shocks”, contributing towards more political stability over the past 20 to 30 years.
The evidence suggests that planting trees can contribute significantly towards land stability in the drylands and sub-humid regions. Reij said in southern Niger farmers had improved some five million hectares of land through “regenerating and multiplying valuable trees whose roots already lay underneath their land”. This had led to more than 500,000 additional tonnes of food per year.
Furthermore, Reij said water harvesting could drive local growth, with €1 more earned by each farmer translating into €1.6 in non-farmed areas.
While humanitarian crises in the sub-Saharan regions are often linked to ethnic and religious tensions, Garrity said the principle causes were droughts, food insecurity, and poverty: “The pattern for terrorism overlaps perfectly with the drylands. These regions are bottom of the human development index, bottom of the hydrological index”, he said. Moreover,  UN reports have found a spatial relationship between higher adult female illiteracy and higher levels of land degradation.

Source: Euractiv