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The Sahara Desert has grown nearly 10 percent in years. While all deserts increase in area during the dry season and decrease during the rainy season, the climate breakdown has caused the Sahara to grow more and shrink less. Khalime Abderrasaoul lives in the village of Zobo, south of the largest desert on earth. This mother of six children works in a nursery that supplies drought-resistant trees to other locations in the province of Batha in Chad.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Fruitful Office - Planting Fruit Trees in Africa campaignContent:
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- The Great Green Wall: Africa’s Epic Conservation Project
- The “Great Green Wall” Didn’t Stop Desertification, but it Evolved Into Something That Might
- North Saharan Xeric Steppe and Woodlands
- Access Denied
- In Niger, Trees and Crops Turn Back the Desert
- Senegal begins planting the Great Green Wall against climate change
- Commanding the Sahara to Retreat
- What happened to Africa's ambitious green belt project?
- How to access research remotely
It's all about trees in our South African home base this week as the country celebrates Arbor Week. To mark the occasion, we're dedicating this Top 10 to our favourite trees from across the African continent, from iconic baobabs to eerily beautiful fever trees.
This tall tree is one of our favourites! It's one of the few trees where photosynthesis takes place in the bark, giving it a stunning yellow-and-green colouration.
The fever tree gets its name from its tendency to grow near swampy areas — early European settlers in the region noted that malarial fever was often contracted in areas where these trees grew of course, we now know this was a mosquito-related mistake!
These beautiful trees are a favourite in gardens and their feathery foliage is a choice home for birds, but they're not revered everywhere. Image: Steve Garvie, Flickr. Upside-down giants with record-breaking lifespans, baobabs are the continent's and possibly the planet's most iconic and outlandish trees. Add to that their towering bulk, fire-resistant bark and extraordinary drought resistance, and you've got yourself one truly epic tree.
Perhaps the best place to feast your eyes on them is on the island of Madagascar home to six native species , along the famous Avenue des Baobabs pictured , where the metre giants stand sentry along a dusty track. It's not hard to figure out where the sausage tree gets its name. Weighing in at kgs, its hefty sausage-shaped fruit can make pretty dangerous projectiles for unwary passers-by or carelessly parked cars.
That same fruit also makes the sausage tree a favourite with the local wildlife, from bush pigs and baboons to hippos and elephants the animals kindly return the favour by dispersing the trees' seeds in their dung.
Humans have also found uses for the fruit, from the medicinal to the intoxicating the fermented fruit makes a great addition to traditional African brews. Image: Lindsey Elliott, Flickr. Because of its distinctive beauty, the quiver tree has been named one of Namibia's national plants.
The thick tree is actually a giant aloe in disguise, and has soft pulpy tissue in the trunk and branches rather than actual wood. But the tree allegedly has even more ingenious uses — dead quiver tree trunks are sometimes hollowed out and used as 'natural' refrigerators.
Image: Martin Heigan, Flickr. As the name suggests, this is one strong and hardy species — in fact, its wood is so dense, it actually sinks in water.
That density also makes the tree incredibly resistant to termites, which is why leadwood skeletons like the one pictured remain dotted across the African landscape long after the original trees have died. You can also identify this tree, one of the largest in Africa, by its distinctive rectangular bark pattern. Image: krugergirl26, Flickr. Indigenous to southern Africa and parts of West Africa and Madagascar , the marula tree is known for its sweet, yellow fruit — and local lore says that same fruit becomes 'elephant alcohol' once it's fallen to the ground and fermented.
Although scientists debunked the drunk elephant myth back in , the alcohol association is not really surprising as the fruit is used to produce Amarula, the second-best-selling cream liqueur in the world. Traditionally the tree is used for everything from malaria cures to insecticide, not to mention as a food source — even more so in the summer months when the branches are often decorated with brightly coloured mopane worms, themselves an important source of protein for millions of people in southern Africa.
Image: Steven Tan, Flickr. Ever heard a tree whistle? With the help of several ant species that bore holes into the thorns of Vachellia drepanolobius, these spiky appendages are transformed into natural whistles that come alive when the wind blows.
And the ants aren't just useful for making music, they have a symbiotic relationship with the whistling thorn tree. In exchange for shelter and a bit of nectar, the ants are believed to defend the whistling thorn against hungry herbivores like elephants and giraffes. Image: Mike LaBarbera, Flickr. To beat the heat in its hot, dry habitat, the tree has developed butterfly-shaped leaves that open and close to control moisture loss.
These leaves also give the tree its name: 'mopane' is the Shona word for butterfly. Hardy and heavy, mopane wood is termite resistant, but not all bugs have abandoned this tree. Mopane worms the larvae of the emperor moth hatch on the mopane after the rainy season and these tasty grubs are a staple snack in many African cultures. These lofty characters get several mentions in the Bible, and their timber, fruit and even twigs have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, where the sycamore fig is believed to have been a kind of Tree of Life.
And that's a pretty fitting title. The sycamore fig provides food for a greater variety of animals than any other tree in Africa.
Its marble-sized fruit is also a vital first home for a species of wasp that lays its eggs inside the figs, triggering the start of a pollination process that results from this fascinating symbiotic relationship. Before we set off any geographic alarms, we're going to come right out and admit that, yes, the dragon blood tree falls outside the African realm.
The slow-growing evergreens occur on the Indian Ocean island of Socotra, which is officially part of Yemen — but with just a handful of miles separating the island from the Horn of Africa, we're claiming it for this countdown anyway.
Besides, who can resist a tree so strange-looking and so shrouded in myth Sadly, the species is now listed as 'Vulnerable' by the IUCN , and is facing threats linked to human development.
Image: Rod Waddington, Flickr. Top header image: Danie van der Merwe, Flickr. Earth Touch is built on a simple philosophy: nature's stories should be told with passion and imagination. Our planet is a busy, crazy place. And amidst all the noise, voices get lost and some stories are never heard. For our growing team of writers and contributors, those are the stories that matter most: we dedicate our time to them all day and every day. In a world bursting with news, nature is our niche — and we love it that way.
You, our viewers, are passionate about these stories we tell. Take your passion further by supporting and driving more of the nature news you know and love. When it comes to alarming updates about the oceans' top predators or scientifically questionable TV programming Shark Week can be a tough time for They don't get all that much press at other times of the year, but as they get ready to embark on their annual present-hauling mission, reindeer are Natural World.
By Earth Touch News September 02Fever tree Vachellia xanthophloea. Earth Touch News Earth Touch News Earth Touch is built on a simple philosophy: nature's stories should be told with passion and imagination.
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The wall is no longer envisioned as a narrow band of trees along the southern edge of the Sahara, a nearly 8, km-long, 15 km-wide corridor from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east. The plan is now to surround the Sahara with a wide belt of vegetation, trees and bushes greening and protecting an agricultural landscape. The new vision engages all the countries surrounding it, including Algeria and others in North Africa, not just the 11 original sub-Saharan countries of the Sahel. The member African Union and the U. Yet the Great Green Wall remains the popular appellation, an iconic symbol of human will that has captured the imagination of the world. It has been transformed into a metaphorical thing.
Their mission: plant a mile-long wall of trees. The southern border of the Sahara is an area called the Sahel, an arid transition zone that is a.
It's all about trees in our South African home base this week as the country celebrates Arbor Week. To mark the occasion, we're dedicating this Top 10 to our favourite trees from across the African continent, from iconic baobabs to eerily beautiful fever trees. This tall tree is one of our favourites! It's one of the few trees where photosynthesis takes place in the bark, giving it a stunning yellow-and-green colouration. The fever tree gets its name from its tendency to grow near swampy areas — early European settlers in the region noted that malarial fever was often contracted in areas where these trees grew of course, we now know this was a mosquito-related mistake! These beautiful trees are a favourite in gardens and their feathery foliage is a choice home for birds, but they're not revered everywhere. Image: Steve Garvie, Flickr.
The North African nation of Morocco is 78 per cent desert and dry land. On its eastern and southern borders, the growing Sahara Desert is threatening to turn more of Morocco into a wasteland. The Sahara is the largest desert on Earth , as well as the hottest. It spans 9.
Senegal's capitol city Dakar sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean on a peninsula.
Various scientific reports published around the world have pointed out the impacts of climate change. The International Panel on Climate Change, for example, outlines in its report how tropical forests and climate change are related. According to the report, protection and restoration of forests can play a vital role in removing atmospheric greenhouse gases. This is a way to cushion the impacts of climate change towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. A rise in temperature and rainfall has already been reported in Nigeria.
Baobab [Adansonia digitata] Other names include boab, boaboa, tabaldi, bottle tree, monkey bread tree. The Baobab Tree is also known as the upside-down tree. All Baobabs are deciduous trees ranging in height from 5 to 20 meters. The Baobab tree is a strange looking tree that grows in low-lying areas in Africa and Australia. How long can Baobab trees live for? Baobab trees can grow to enormous sizes and carbon dating indicates that they may live to be 3, years old. One ancient hollow Baobab tree in Zimbabwe is so large that up to 40 people can shelter inside its trunk. Various Baobabs have been used as a shop, a prison, a house, a storage barn and a bus shelter.
in southern Africa. A trial planting of southern African fruit trees in a desert in Israel is also going to include this plant (Dovyalis caffra).
ICRAF publishes content on a regular basis. Subscribe and stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends on agroforestry. Potential of fruit trees in the drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa for food and nutrition security and income generation. Kehlenbeck K Kehlenbeck K.
The cashew-nut tree is a fast grower and an evergreen tropical tree. It grows to a height of 12 m.
You might've seen that as part of Noissue's Eco-Packaging Alliance , every order a customer makes contributes to global reforestation. These trees are planted in deforested areas that One Tree Planted decides are most in need across the world. More than 22, trees have been planted worldwide so far as a result of the Eco-Packaging Alliance. But why the tree planting, you might ask? The answer is simple: trees help in the fight against climate change.
Date palms in Coachella Valley, Calif. In , the U. Department of Agriculture created a special department of men called Agriculture Explorers to travel the globe searching for new food crops to bring back for farmers to grow in the U.