FROM THE FIELD: The microscopic creatures helping build Africa’s Great Green Wall

A young woman scientist in Burkina Faso is researching the role of micro-organisms in fighting desertification in the Sahel Region, as part of a UN programme to restore degraded land in Africa.

Young microbiologist Barkissa Fofana is studying to see whether microbes can help plants to grow in some of Africa’s most arid zones. © FAO/Gideon Vink

30-year-old Barkissa Fofana studies the relationship between acacia trees, and they way they interact with different fungi and bacteria, in the hope that it will help to explain how they resist drought. This kind of research is an important way to build resilience against climate change, and make land in the Sahel green and productive.

Ms. Fofana’s work is part of Action Against Desertification (AAD), a programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which has restored over 7,000 hectares in Burkina Faso. You can find out more about her projects, the impact of AAD, and the Great Green Wall initiative, here

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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