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Reforestation - Growing trees in arid, barren lands - by Seeds and Clay cubes (no watering)

 
pollinator
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The Great Green Wall

Hopefully the reporter is mistaken and other parts of the project are going well !!!



Kostas
 
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Location: Izmir, Turkey
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I don't think the whole project is collapsing, but the initial plantings like the field in this video are definitely failing. It is not the whole picture though, there are better approaches to reverse desertification that are being incorporated into the Great Green Wall project. The "Great Green Wall" Didn't Stop Desertification, but it Evolved Into Something That Might  Regreening the Sahel

I believe that the starting point of this project was more aligned with a conventional mindset, thus resulting in the failure. As far as I know, there was little local knowledge utilized and obviously observations and trial and error (like we do in this thread) were not exactly in the focus as they really wanted to do it quickly and what we do takes time. This happens when reforestation is misguided (or unguided), it is clear as that to me.
 
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Kostas, there is something you might not have considered, and that is planting vigorous, drought-tolerant, sun-loving, non-shade-tolerant perennials that hold soil moisture and facilitate tree growth before you plant trees. One thing that has evidence of working is pampas grass, although trials are just getting started.
 
Myron Platte
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Yeah, with the great green wall, it looks like someone got the idea that any problem is fixable as long as you throw enough money at it. They need to texture the land a bit. If they paid the local population to dig swales and plant only one tenth or hundredth of the trees that they have been, but in dense polyculture, and in swale trenches instead of on flat land, and taught the herders how to properly, rotationally... or even used attack helicopters to saturate an area with seed balls...
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thanks for the article Güneş,
Very informative-I was looking for something like this.

I am sure that along this 6,500 km wall, there are all kinds of stories to be told. A comprehensive survey of the whole project needs to be done, so we know where we are and how far we need to go.

Myron, I had not considered pampas grass. I wonder how it would do on areas that have very little soil/almost bare stone; we have many areas like that unfortunately. The seeds of the pampas grass can be mixed in with the other seeds in the clay balls or directly seeded.

Good points on the Green Wall... totally agree.

It looks like the world is waking up (climate change conferences) and beginning to face the problems created by greed in the last few centuries, and especially the last 50 years.

Let's hope that the solutions adapted are well thought out and don't create more severe problems of different kinds.

Kostas
 
Myron Platte
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:
I wonder how it would do on areas that have very little soil/almost bare stone; we have many areas like that unfortunately. The seeds of the pampas grass can be mixed in with the other seeds in the clay balls or directly seeded.


I do not know specifically how pampas grass will fare on very little soil, but I would think it should do fairly well. Mullien can grow on bare stone, and even break it up. Coltsfoot easily grows in pure sand. Lupine does well in very poor soil as well, and is a nitrogen fixer. My idea is that some of the areas you are planting in are just too difficult for the trees by themselves, and they need some help from other plants to have a chance at survival.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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You have a good point Myron.

I have been debating this issue of planting trees close enough to each other so they become the ground cover and produce new soil vs using green manure crops to improve the soil and then plant trees.

Time will tell what is the best course. Of course a combination of the two can be used, but it's a question of allocating finite resources.

It's also going to be site specific.

Kostas

 
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Kostas, I have noticed since replanting drought hardy plants like rosemary that we have several trees coming up from underneath the hardy shrubs. I think you could use this strategy to initially cover soil or rock so that the succession starts to accelerate. I’ve seen oaks come up through rosemary and saltbush, the latter being a native plant that is extremely hardy. My reasoning is that it shades the soil and it allows for the late succession trees to be protected and eventually shoot through the shrubs and become the more dominant species after time.

Not sure what other shrubs might work for you. Maybe rock rose? Lavender?

Your work is awesome and inspiring!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Heath,
Your reasoning is solid.

Shrubs like the ones you mentioned will allow seeds and trees underneath to emerge and become dominant in time.

Glad to hear Bakersfield has not turned into a dead landscape and that oak trees emerge from underground and survive.

What does the future for wild food forests and reforestation look like there...is there activity to plant trees.

Kostas
 
Heath Emerson
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Heath,
Your reasoning is solid.

Shrubs like the ones you mentioned will allow seeds and trees underneath to emerge and become dominant in time.

Glad to hear Bakersfield has not turned into a dead landscape and that oak trees emerge from underground and survive.

What does the future for wild food forests and reforestation look like there...is there activity to plant trees.

Kostas



Well, our city is somewhat of an anamoly. Most residents here have green lawns and exotic ornamentals that are water-thirsty. It’s an illusion to live here because people want it to be an oasis but it’s so unsustainable. You can see how much water we have drained from the surrounding landscapes of Bakersfield. It looks worse and worse every year.

I think there are some people that would like a wild-style food forest in their yards as replacements to their cookie cutter landscapes. I usually receive compliments on our food forest. Mostly everyone is intrigued by it and calls the neighborhood jungle! I’ve wanted to do a bigger project for a while now but nothing has lined up yet. Land is expensive and beholden to the corporations so it’s hard to find land that will not get me in big trouble. It would be really cool to do a large-scale food forest project here because I think we could bring back the rains. It hardly rains anymore. We get less than 6 inches on average now per year. But from what I have read about the history of this place, it was forested at one point with mesquite, oak, cottonwood, willow, and sycamores especially when the river was not dammed. I’ve heard that we got over 12 inches of rain or more a year because the trees created it. Wouldn’t it be so cool to do a 100 acre or bigger food forest and see if we could change the precipitation levels over it compared to the surrounding area?

I’m always hopeful I’ll find a landowner who wants to do something like this!

Until then, I can read about your project to stay inspired!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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“Finding the mother tree” book by Suzanne Simard.

Good article by the NY Times.

Times Article

Trees in a healthy strong forest communicate, help each other by providing resources to sick members of the community, a mother tree guides and protects the others.

Man's attempt to plant monocultures and by treating trees and forests as objects to profit from and exploit are unfortunately destined to fail.

Interesting concepts...we know so little.

Kostas
 
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