Scientists Create Sustainable Forests In The Desert By Using Wastewater

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Scientists Create Sustainable Forests In The Desert By Using Wastewater

Desertification is a process that has caused much concern over the last decade. It is also known as desert-creep or desert-spread, and it’s a significant problem for the ancient land of Egypt, where 96 percent of the country’s landmass is desert.


Yet, if you drove a car 10 miles west of the Suez Canal, you'd see beautiful forests of eucalyptus, teak, and mahogany trees. That's because Serapium Forest is the most prosperous of Egypt’s 36 tracts of land, which make up an ambitious program to fight desertification by growing sustainably-managed commercial forests fed only by wastewater.


The 500-mile forest is just a short distance from the populous city of Ismailia, inhabited by 400,000 people that produce millions of tons of sewage and sewage water annually.


Routed about a dozen miles to the Serapium site, the wastewater arrives in massive microorganism-populated underground vats. There, oxygen is fed in to accelerate the bacterial purification process. Then, a system of pipes deposits the wastewater throughout the forest.


As human wastewater is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus even after being treated, it's effectively a MiracleGro formula that Ismailia's citizens provide for free.


Research conducted by Egyptian scientists suggests that the wastewater potential for afforestation in the country could transform 1.6 million acres of desert into commercial forests, which are arable and economically viable.


The federal effort, named the National Program for the Safe Use of Treated Sewage Water for Afforestation goes a long way towards achieving the country’s commendable ambitions that were voiced in the 1992 UN Rio conference on climate change.


The research was supported by a German forest investment company named Forest Finance, which has already established near-natural forests in Vietnam and Panama to aid those countries in economic development, CO2 absorption, and wildlife conservation.


The company aims to increase the number of species grown in Serapium by including a plantation on the site. This way, the biodiversity of the commercial forest would be able to support a larger array of life and species and [potentially increase the profitability too.


Even though desertification is sometimes thought of as the swallowing of lands adjacent to deserts, it's, in fact, a process whereby area which was once fertile or semi-arable becomes desert as a result of long-lasting drought or unsustainable agricultural practices among other factors.


Africa’s Great Green Wall project, a notable effort across over ten countries to build a giant patchwork wedge of vegetation to fight desertification in Africa’s Sahel region, swaps the word desertification for land degradation.


The African green wall has produced some incredibly good figures along their goals of jobs created, carbon sequestered, land reclaimed, and food produced. It's established best practices for the combating of land degradation by making sure that the “wall” is a mosaic of various families of plants and land-use strategies, providing greater robustness and flexibility in the face of drought or fire.


While the Serapium Forest suffers from the precarious circumstances derived from lack of funding and political stability, it is still growing, with a 500-acre green wall joining the others on Earth in fending off the sands of the Earth’s deserts from spreading.


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Thinking Humanity: Scientists Create Sustainable Forests In The Desert By Using Wastewater
Scientists Create Sustainable Forests In The Desert By Using Wastewater
Desertification is a process that has caused much concern over the last decade.
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