TH: Sahara suprise

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>On Friday April 26, 1996 Rob Squires punctuates with an exclamation:
>>Looking for the perfect millenium project which would unite the peoples of
>>the planet, and reinstate an earth caring culture, I would say that the
>>reafforestation of the Sahara would be a project hard to top !

On the very same day Mik L. responded with:

>Ok Rob, where would be a good place to start?

Hi Mik. Just thought I'd write you this to let you know I'm not ignoring
your question. The problem is I don't know how to answer it. When you first
posed the questioned I was daunted by the pollitical and land use/ownership
issues that surround such a proposition. Compared with these, the actual
physical act of reforestation seemed unproblematic. I've been trying to come
up with a reasonable answer, but don't seem to have all the pieces. Does
anyone ?

Since then you personally E:mailed me with:

>Hi Rob

>We're starting to do a little research on desert Forests. Richard has
>suggested tracking down folks from India who've been planting in the sand
>for about 30 years. Also, my girlfriend, who is Japanese, and Carmela in
>Australia are talking about visiting Masanobu Fukuoka.

>We'd like to make e-mail contacts with friends of Richard St. Barbe Baker,
>and some tree folks in India and in the Sahara region and if you have any
>ideas or know of anyone I'd appreciate hearing ...

I'm impressed with the zest with which you've all embarked upon the conquest
of the Sahara. Regarding planting in the sand it occured to me that it may
be worth studying natural coastline succesions. Around here, the general
pattern is from sand to heathland (which would probably be forested without
the anthropogenic impact). Between these zones are an array of grasses and
sedges. Some species have a stabilising effect on the dunes, whilst others
act as a focus, whereby embryonic dunes form and grow around an ever
expanding root system. Only about 10% of the Sahara is covered by sand however.

Many Australian Permaculturists are well informed in dry land srategies -
Mollison's Design Manuals full of ideas. Personally I'm not very clued up on
this area - it never stops raining on Merseyside !

A university friend of mine, Grahams' currently doing his 'year out' in
Uttar Predesh working on a community Agro Forestry project. He could be a
usfull information source, but he's coming home in a couple of months. Tell
me what you were you hoping to learn from India, and I'll write to him
(Snailmail - not suprisingly the village hasn't got internet !).

By the way, two days ago I saw The Diversity of Life (Wilson) referenced in
the Ecologist, and thought I might buy it. Yesterday it was mentioned on
this list. Today I walked into our Uni bookshop for - oh, maybe the third
time in 3 years, and there it was jumping off the shelf at me. The
temptation was too much, I bought it. It's that old magic working again ...
I've only reached page 7 but I've got a feeling it's a good buy. Good by, Rob. 


                         Rob Squires of CTCSystems 
                    Gill Ellison - Age Concern St.Helens
                    ++++ A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TO LIFE +++
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