A forestry project is being implemented here with the main thrust of checking desertification in the country’s northwest region besides conserving biodiversity and other surrounding environment through a massive tree-sapling transplantation.
The scheme also intends to promote uses of surface water after reducing the gradually mounting pressure on groundwater through excavating and re-excavating of derelict ponds and other water bodies.
Department of Social Forestry (DSF) has been implementing the project titled “Eco-Restoration of the Northern Region of Bangladesh” in all 16 districts under Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions.
DSF divisional forest officer Imran Ahmed, told BSS that the four-year project is being implemented with an estimated cost of around Tk 247.9 million for establishing plantation aimed at biodiversity enhancement.
“We have already transplanted tree-saplings on more than 200-kilomter area under the project,” he said adding that poor and underprivileged people were incorporated in the project activities for improving their socio-economic condition.
The programme has been designed to increase the number of surface water reservoirs using derelict water bodies to promote sustainable utilisation for facilitating irrigation, maintain a near constant water table, domestic use and watering of forest nurseries.
It has provision to increase tree coverage for biodiversity conservation and wildlife habitat restoration, supply of raw materials and contribute to the local firewood needs.
The profitable afforestation activities will encourage many people in planting adequate saplings of wood, medicinal and fruit- bearing plants at homesteads, roadsides, office premises, embankments, forest areas, religious institutions’ premises and other places.
An analysis of arid lands around the world shows how patterns in vegetation may serve as harbingers of things to come.
Society has an increasing awareness that there are finite limits to what we can expect the planet to absorb and still provide goods and services at current rates1. Both historical reconstructions and contemporary events continue to remind us that ecological regime changes are often abrupt rather than gradual. This reality motivates researchers who seek to discover leading indicators for impending ecosystem change. Berdugo et al.2 report an important advance in our ability to anticipate the conversion of arid lands from self-organized, self-maintaining and productive ecosystems, to a state characterized by disorganization and low functionality. Such conversions have important implications for our understanding of ‘desertification’ — which is a shift from arid to desert-like conditions.
Theoretical studies have suggested that patterns in the patchiness of vegetation might indicate how close a system is to making an abrupt change to desert-like conditions3,4,5. Empirical studies, however, have tended to show instead that simply the total cover of vegetation, rather than its arrangement, often foretells the state of the system4,5,6,7,8,9. Berdugo et al.2 combine these competing ideas into one integrated perspective. They show how major environmental drivers, such as aridity, influence both vegetation cover and patchiness, as well as where self-organizing, stabilizing forces in the vegetation are likely to be found.
A The Sahel zone lies between the Sahara desert and the fertile savannahs of northern Nigeria and southern Sudan. The word sahel comes from Arabic and means marginal or transitional, and this is a good description of these semi-arid lands, which occupy much of the West African countries of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad.
B Unfortunately, over the last century the Sahara desert has steadily crept southwards eating into once productive Sahel lands. United Nations surveys show that over 70 per cent of the dry land in agricultural use in Africa has deteriorated over the last 30 years. Droughts have become more prolonged and more severe, the most recent lasting over twenty years in parts of the Sahel region. The same process of desertification is taking place across southern Africa as the Kalahari desert advances into Botswana and parts of South Africa.
The climate change ministry has up-scaled its efforts to combat desertification in the country through sustainable land management.
This was stated by the ministry’s officials during a meeting of the Programme Steering Committee of the Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP Phase-II) here on Friday under the ministry’s leadership in partnership with UNDP, GEF and all four provinces.
The participants discussed the progress of the programme in four provinces and its achievements.
They approved the stepping up of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) up-scaling activities, which envisage SLM integrated provincial policies, technical training, effective land use planning with Geographic Information System (GIS) and implementation of climate-resilient SLM activities in partnership with communities across landscapes in the country.
Desertification is a reality in Somalia. These photos were taken near the villages of Bahdan and Hadaaftimo on the Sanaag plateau in northern Somalia in August 2004. Less than ten years ago this area was valuable grazing land, now it is all but destroyed. Pastoral experts at the NGO Horn Relief believe that the area can be rehabilitated through a combination of replanting trees to control wind erosion, controlling grazing and constructing small rock dams to control water erosion. All of this will take capital which Somalia does not have.
More trees in arid areas could lead to more water access—which is good news for hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people.
Burkina Faso – It is not often that a study completely upends a prevailing view, and, in doing so, offers hope of improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
But that is exactly what research recently published in Scientific Reports has done for the understanding of trees and water in dry regions.
In arid places where water is scarce, the planting of trees is often discouraged out of the belief that trees always reduce the availability of much-needed water.
Yet scientists working in Burkina Faso found that when a certain number of trees are present, the amount of groundwater recharge is actually maximized.
The study is a “game changer”, according to one of the study’s authors, Douglas Sheil, professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a senior research associate with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
The Sahel is a semi-arid belt of land in Africa south of the Sahara and north of the wetter areas to the south. The Sahel extends east from the Atlantic Ocean through northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Niger, northeastern Nigeria, Chad and the Sudan. Most of the Sahel region consists of savannah.
Credit: Hanna Sinare
Drought-tolerant species thrive despite returning rains in the Sahel
October 19, 2016
Following the devastating droughts in the 70s and 80s in the Sahel region south of the Sahara desert, vegetation has now recovered. What surprised the researchers is that although it is now raining more and has become greener, it is particularly the more drought resistant species that thrive instead of the tree and shrub vegetation that has long been characteristic of the area. The conclusion is that not only rain but also agriculture and human utilization of trees, bushes and land affect the plants recovering.
The expected pattern is that a drier climate favours drought resistant species, and that a wetter climate makes it possible for species that require more rainfall to thrive. A new study, however, shows the opposite effect; that a shift to more drought tolerant species is occurring, even though it’s raining more. This shows that the recent regreening of the Sahel region can not only be explained by the fact that it rains more, which until now has been the dominant explanation.