Desertification being a growing problem in the world, but, especially in the African continent, it is necessary to devise mechanisms that prevent its spread. In this sense, it is a priority to counteract deforestation by planting more trees. However, this is very difficult in regions where water is scarce.
But an innovative project in Egypt shows that it can be done using reused wastewater instead of taking advantage of the scarce supply of fresh water. In fact, the trees are growing at a very promising rate.
The innovative Egyptian forest “in the middle of the desert” is located 2 hours from the city of Cairo and consists of 200 hectares with trees from the region and other non-native, including species of great commercial value, such as eucalyptus and mahogany.Scientists have discovered that watering trees with effluent water is making plantations flourish, even though the desert soil does not have the capacity to provide the nutrients that a forest like this one needs. Moreover, it has not even been necessary to replace the application of nutrients with fertilizers.
The results of the project have been very good. In just 15 years, the trees of the plantation are ready to harvest with a production of 350 cubic meters of wood per hectare. Comparing these results with the German pines, for example, we are talking about a production 4 times larger than its German counterparts in the same period of time.These plantations are helping Egypt to conserve its fertile lands and producing a valuable natural resource that no longer has to be imported. And beyond that, this experience offers a well-founded perspective of what can be achieved with the deserts that now abound in Africa and the rest of the planet.