Millions of Indian Trees
India accomplished a major achievement recently by breaking a tree planting record, planting over 66 million in 12 hours. The planting was carried out by volunteers in Madhya Pradesh, the 5th largest Indian state by population. The previous record was set in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous Indian state, at 49.3 million trees in 24 hours. The plantings were efforts to abide by the Paris Climate Accords and India’s current plan is to achieve an increase in forests by 95 million hectares by 2030. To do this they have set aside $6.2 billion and are encouraging all of their states to follow with their own programs. Hopefully, in the near future, India’s reputation of smog filed cites could be replaced with gorgeous forests and bright, clear skies.
A Billion Trees
Credit: PTI Scotland
Pakistan, not to be outdone by its neighbor, is also launching an ambitious project. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest is the center of a major effort to cover part of the province in forests. Led by Imran Khan, head of the Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, they aim to increase the forested area by 2% and have so far planted over 750 million trees. The end goal is for 1 billion trees to be planted and so far the campaign accounts for 40% of KP’s new trees. The government also pitched in 11 billion rupees ($110 million) in 13,000 nurseries which aren’t only a government project, they’re also job opportunities.
Villagers can earn 12,000 to 15,000 rupees ($115-$140) a month for running them and around 500,000 jobs have been created through the effort, helping the poorest of the province. All of the areas being forested are registered on a GPS network so that you can see which areas are being reforested and in order to ensure the success, any cutting of the province’s trees is forbidden and they have been targeting the timber mafia (it actually exists) by dismantling their factories and issuing big fines. The government is even falling in line, launching their own initiative called the Green Pakistan Programme. Over five years they aim to plant 100 million trees and I see it as a good sign for a greener economy in Pakistan’s future.
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Bacteria & Trees Fight Pollution
Using a microbe in conjunction with the natural recycling process that trees already perform on soil, trichloroethylene (common industrial pollutant) can be cleaned from groundwater more efficiently. The study was conducted by the University of Washington with Sharon Doty as lead author.
Pay Farmers to Fight Deforestation
Dr Seema Jayachandran from Northwestern University, Chicago, has come up with an idea to save the rain forests of the world. It involves paying the farmers near the trees and so far, it has yielded some pretty interesting results. When they’re paid, trees still go down, but it gets cut in half from the current rate. Perhaps we’ll see more of these innovations in the future but new ideas will be required to combat the problems we face in deforestation.
Great Green Walls
China and Africa are currently embarking on campaigns to guard against the encroaching deserts plaguing their territories. China has built a Great Green Wall to complement their own Great Wall which they are using to block the advance of the Gobi Desert. Sates in Northern Africa have banded together to create their own Green Wall in the Sahel region, an arid region south of the Sahara Desert. Their goals are essentially the same. The first is to block the adverse weather problems. The sandstorms are a consistent menace and only increase with every year as the deserts march on. The other aspect is the obvious economic benefits of turning their countries green. More forests means more wildlife, more jobs, better irrigation, higher biodiversity, lower CO2 emissions as well as tourism benefits if properly developed. Hopefully these projects will yield tangible results within the next two decades so look forward to the results in the future.
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Thailand is currently engaged in a precise and coordinated bombing campaign of their rural countryside, consisting of hundreds of thousands of bombs being dropped, searing the landscape with massive amounts of…seeds. The country has faced severe deforestation over the years and is seeking to restore their depleted areas, but would prefer a new technique. They have decided to create seed bombs, a ball of seeds packed with clay and compost which will be dropped from a plane and insert itself into the ground. This method allows hundreds of thousands to be planted quickly over a wide area and not require a large workforce, materials or pesticide. Just throw them at the ground and wait for a forest to grow. Only time will tell whether or not it’s a useful method or a costly gambit whose payoff is less successful than intended.
For more articles related to sustainability go to Sustainability and check out my other pages for excellent content on science, technology, history and more!
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