Shrubs and trees in China’s western deserts are shown.
Credit: Xu Jianchu
New look at satellite data questions scale of China’s afforestation success
May 3, 2017
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
China has invested massive resources into halting and reversing tree cover loss. However, ‘planting trees is not the same as gaining forests.’ It is likely that much of China’s tree cover gains consist of low-height, sparse and/or scattered plantations, which are unlikely to provide the same benefits as natural forests, such as diverse habitats for wildlife, prevention of soil erosion, and timber resources.
Black willows were used because they are easy to propagate and grow into a new tree from cutting off a limb
By STACEY HAIRSTON SHairston@thefranklinnewspost.com
The STIC program was started in 2012 as a partnership between Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
As part of the program, students root native Black Willow cuttings in the classroom for about three to four weeks and then take a field trip to plant the trees, said Krista Hodges, DRBA education manager.
“Trees along streams help keep water clean by buffering out pollution like chemicals and litter, and help keep the streams at cooler temperatures during the summer,” Hodges said. “The trees also provide habitat for wildlife seeking food or water, and shelter.”
Black willows were used because they are easy to propagate and grow into a new tree from cutting off a limb, Hodges said. The limbs, when handled and treated properly, will root in a couple weeks and can be planted within three to four weeks after cutting.
“The Black Willows are perfect for the program because they are native to the area and love wet areas near streams,” she said.
I’ve been holding off on my willow-building experiment because I couldn’t quite decide whether our native black willow (Salix nigra) was too tree-like (eventual height 33 to 98 feet) to keep small in the format of a living sculpture. Then, while out hunting cattail spears for lunch, I stumbled across a stand of what are probably planted purple willows (Salix purpurea) and decided that this smaller (up to 15 feet), introduced species would be easier to keep within bounds.
I just participated in a restoration project a few days ago in the local Lagunitas Watershed in Marin County, CA as part of the Ecology/Plant Biology class I’m taking. Part of the project is to transplant willow cuttings from one area of a seasonal tributary creek to the devegetated shores of the creek just downstream. The idea is to get a root system going that will shore up the steep sides of the creek to as so decrease sediment falling into the tributary (saving salmon-spawning habitat). The 1-inch thick cuttings (2-5ft tall) that were put in a month or so ago have a nice little amount of vegetation on them already. The cuttings we transplanted last week were instead nestled horizontally in the soil along the creek bank. It was enjoyable.
The economics are clear. The benefits of trees far outweigh the cost of planting and maintaining them. Restoring 350 million hectares to contain global warming requires between $79 and $130 Bn (or an average $7 Bn per annum over the next 15 years.
In 2014, global GDP amounted to about 77.3 trillion U.S. dollars, this total investment to contain global warming represents merely 0,001% of 1 years’ global GDP or 0,08% of 1 years’ global military spending.
If creative mechanisms where private contributions are matched by public grants can be developed, like in the WeForest Zambia project where a grant from Finland (CSEF) is covering 60% of the project costs, corporates will enjoy a huge positive impact with a minimal investment. Ask us about this opportunity to contribute in Zambia.
 Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices from 2010-2020 (in billion U.S. dollars): Statista. (2015),
Figure 3.1: Portulacaria afra Jacq. (spekboom) tree. Notice the skirt of rooted branches
Spekboom multiplication for combating desertification
by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM
Ghent University (Belgium)
One of the most interesting African plant species used to combat desertification, limiting soil erosion, producing a dense vegetation cover and a remarkable number of small, edible leaves (fodder, but also vitamin-rich food for humans), is the Spekboom or Elephant’s Bush (Portulacaria afra).
This plant species is swiftly covering dry, eroding soils and should be recommended to all global projects for alleviation of drought, combat of land degradation and halting of wind erosion.
My good friend Johan VAN DE VEN of Bamboo Sur was so kind to offer me some rooted cuttings. These are growing very well in pots and PET-bottles in my garden in Belgium.
In order to study different ways of multiplication of this Spekboom (with succulent branches and leaves), I started taking off small lateral shoots (cuttings) and planted them in some potting soil in a cake box. I also planted some of the succulent leaves (see my photos below).
Within the plastic cake box humidity is kept high (condensation of droplets on the cover). Therefore, I opened the cover from time to time to let some fresh air (oxygen) in.
Quite soon both the cuttings and the separate leaves started rooting. The cuttings swiftly developed some new leaves. A month later I transplanted them into small plastic bottles, twice perforated 2-3 cm above the bottom (for drainage, keeping a small quantity of water at the bottom for moistening the bottle’s content and the rootball).
Once fully rooted within the plastic bottle, I cut off the bottom of the bottle to set the lower part of the rootball free. Then I planted the young Spekboom in a plant pit without taking off the plastic bottle, sitting as a plastic cylinder around the rootball. That plastic cylinder continued to keep the rootball moistened (almost no evaporation) and it offered possibilities to water the sapling from time to time, whenever needed. Irrigation water runs through the plastic cylinder towards the bottom of the rootball, growing freely in the soil (irrigation water directed towards the roots growing into the soil at the bottom of the plant pit). Thus a high survival rate was guaranteed.
It is clear that multiplication of the Spekboom with rooting cuttings and leaves is very easy. It is another interesting aspect of this remarkable plant. I can only recommend a broader use of the Spekboom for reforestation, fodder production and even production of bonsais for enhancement of the annual income (export to developed countries).
Here are some photos of this experiment.
—————-Considering that people working at the Great Green Wall in Africa (or any other interested group on other continents) are looking for practical solutions to cover as soon as possible huge areas of a desertified region, one is tempted to believe that setting up nurseries to produce a sufficient number of plants should not be a problem (as these plants only need a minimum of water).
I keep dreaming of successes booked with this nice edible plant species in the combat of desertification. The day will come that the Elephant bush will be growing in all the drought-affected regions of the world. Animals will eat from it, but also malnourished children and hungry adults will find it an interesting supplement to their food.
A CIFOR scientist (left) inspects Arenillo seeds collected by a Kichwa timber producer. These seeds will be replanted by the farmer to reforest his land in Napo Province, Ecuador. Tomas Munita/CIFOR Photo
New global forest restoration initiatives – such as the Bonn Challenge, Initiative 20×20, AFR100, the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets – present an unparalleled opportunity to reverse the trend of deforestation and forest degradation in the coming years. However, those who work in forest restoration have countless stories of failed projects. How can we minimize these failures, learn from other restoration initiatives and build success from the ground up?
Restoration experts agree: monitoring is essential to restoration success. But is monitoring being given enough attention in the current major global initiatives?
Restoring lands and livelihoods in Burkina Faso: The business of one association
Effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities and women in ecosystem restoration is one of the three main principles of the Action Plan on Ecosystem Restoration that the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are expected to adopt at their next Conference in Cancun in December. Effective participation is both the ends and means of ecosystem restoration, but is not easily achieved.
A Burkinabè association tiipaalga (meaning ‘new tree’) has worked with the country’s farmers for over a decade to help them bring their degraded lands back to life. The organization’s aim is to help improve ecosystems for the purpose of improving the well-being of local households. The organization considers – and calls – farmers its partners. Mr Alain Traoré, Director of tiipaalga, shares insights from his long-term efforts in fostering farmer-led restoration initiatives in Burkina Faso.
This is the fifth blog in the CBD COP13 Forest and Landscape Restoration Blog Serieshighlighting why mainstreaming agricultural and tree biodiversity in sustainable food and production systems is critical to achieve the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, with a particular focus on forest and landscape restoration.
Q: What is tiipaalga’s approach in supporting farmers?
A: Our main approach is assisted natural regeneration, which is a low-cost forest restoration method aimed at accelerating growth of existing natural regeneration by removing competition from weeds and other disturbances and creating a more favorable micro-environment for growth. In some cases, if natural regeneration is not sufficient, planting of valuable species to supplement the existing tree populations (enrichment planting) can be carried out.
While we support planting trees, we recommend farmers only plant in small numbers, to allow them to maintain the trees. There is no point in planting one million trees which we cannot tend. It’s better to plant 10 trees per year and in 50 years we will have all we want. We want our partners [farmers] to be sure to be able to care for their trees so they can bring life; as our slogan says: “a tree for life”.