The Great Green Wall
The Klorane Botanical Foundation is committed to a future project in line with its own missions: the Great Green Wall.
In order to combat the desertification which is crippling the Sahel and the consequences of this on the local population, 11 African countries* joined forces in 2004 to take on this major ecological challenge, thus creating the idea of the "Grande Muraille Verte project".
The goal is to create a multi-species plant belt that will cross the African continent, from Dakar to Djibouti, measuring 7,000km in length and 15km in breadth!
* The 11 countries committed to the project are: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
The Desert Date (Balanites aegyptiaca) as well as other endogenous species such as the Acacia (Acacia senegal, Acacia seyal) and the Jujube tree (Ziziphus mauritiana) have been selected for their ability to adapt to the semi-arid climate and are being planted as part of this program. They will help to form plant coverage and provide a sustainable source of food and income for the local population.
In Senegal, the country which has made the most progress in this program, plantation began in 2008. A great many nurseries have been established, and these help to grow the shoots for the trees that will form part of the Great Green Wall. After a year, they will be planted in the ground during the humid season. The plantation plots will remain inaccessible for a further five years in order to allow the plants to grow. It will then be possible to pick fruit and collect fodder and gum arabic, etc. from the trees.
In addition to the nurseries, vegetable and market gardens have been created. These are cultivated by women and help to diversify the variety of food eaten by families through a supply of fruit and vegetables. A portion of the production is sold on markets, which provides a source of income.
One of the keys to the success of this ambitious program in Senegal is the on-site creation of the Observatoire Hommes Milieux (Humans and environment observatory) by the CNRS, which is designed to evaluate the impact of these plantations on an ecological, medical and social level.
The Great Green Wall: an ecologically and economically viable planted area in the Sahel.
- The Klorane Botanical Foundation, which has been striving for the protection and valorisation of plant heritage for 18 years, provides its support for this program in Senegal through a partnership with the “Environment, Health, Society” Unité Mixte Internationale (UMI 3189) from the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS - National Scientific Research Center) to:
- Protect, by planting 10,000 Desert Date trees every year for three years.
- Explore, by financing three doctoral theses on the Desert Date and its impacts on humans, the environment and health.
- Educate, by supporting an annual summer university scheme for science and medicine in Senegal (social improvement and scientific activities, multidisciplinary exchanges).
In contrast to popular belief, the desertification of the Sahel cannot be described as an advancement of the Sahara in a southerly direction. The UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) gives a definition of desertification: it is “the deterioration of areas in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid lands which have become dry as a result of various factors including climate change and human activity”.