Read more about this story: “The Man Who Stopped the Desert“. For additional information on re-greening the desert, check out these videos of renowned permaculturist Geoff Lawton growing fruits and vegetables in the Middle East.
This story is one example of the positive results that can happen when indigenous people gain and share the knowledge of land stewardship among themselves. This is not a story of the western world swooping in to save the day, rather it is an example of native wisdom built on the lived experiences of the people involved. Imagine the possibility of halting and reversing desertification around the world.
The eponymous “Mystical Magical Abracadabracal Daniel McDougal McDouglas McFly,” the first book in our series, follows Daniel McFly and his friends as they deal with de-forestation and band together to practice re-forestation. Book 2, “Oceans Alive,” follows the young environmental superheroes as they learn about ocean pollution and enlist their community to clean up the shoreline.
More about the books HERE.
Yacouba Sawadogo has been leading the efforts in Burkina Faso to reclaim the encroaching desert as a productive, biodiverse region by using methods such as tree intercropping.
As Sawadogo watched the devastation climate change was having on his 50 acre family farm, and after all other families had fled due to the droughts of the 1980s, he chose to stay and find ways to adapt to the hotter, drier weather. Motivated by necessity, Sawadogo began to practice and innovate methods of dealing with scarce rain. He and his colleagues dug zai, or shallow pits, around trees to collect the little rain that did fall and direct it toward the roots. He began to increase the size of his zai and add manure to the pits in the dry season, despite his neighbors’ critiques that it was a wasteful practice.
When the land began to reap the rewards of Sawadogo’s innovative practices, and his trees grew taller while new trees sprouted up around them, the criticism stopped. The new trees increased the vitality of the soil, enhancing production of his staple crops of millet and sorghum. This practice of agro-forestry provided food security for the Sawadogo family and the practice spread around the region.
These water-harvesting practices restored the water table in his farm and surrounding areas. Sawadogo saw the production of trees as a positive feedback loop, noting that “the more trees you have, the more you get.” The new trees have diversified his income, providing wood for building and furniture making, and as fuel for cooking.
This method of agroforestry has spread from village to village to the point where aerial photography of the regions now compared with those from the 1980s depict remarkably different terrain.
Hi! I'm Daniel
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The Mystical Magical Abracadabracal Daniel McDougal McDouglas McFly
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