2019/03/31: More than 20 African countries have joined together in an international mission to plant a massive wall of trees running across the continent – and after a little over a decade of work, it has reaped great success.
The tree-planting project, which has been dubbed The Great Green Wall of Africa, stretches across roughly 6,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) of terrain at the southern edge of the Sahara desert, a region known as the Sahel.
The region was once a lush oasis of greenery and foliage back in the 1970s, but the combined forces of population growth, unsustainable land management, and climate change turned the area into a barren and degraded swath of land.
After decades of political collaboration, the Great Green Wall project was finally launched by 11 countries in 2007.
The initiative has since recruited at least nine additional countries to plant drought-resistant acacia trees across the entire width of the continent. Though the wall is currently only about 15% percent complete, it has already dramatically impacted the participating countries.
Byproducts of the restored landscape include many groundwater wells refilled with drinking water, rural towns with additional food supplies, and new sources of work and income for villagers, thanks to the need for tree maintenance.