Action Against Desertification

UN project shows how trees help halt desertification

By Mark Kinver Science and environment reporter, BBC News

20/06/2011A UN-led pilot scheme hopes to highlight how trees can help people in arid zone, considered to one of the most hostile habitats on the planet.  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Acacia project's goal is to show how trees provide, food, fuel, shelter and income during times of hardship.  So far, six nations - including Senegal and Sudan - have hosted tree planting schemes for at-risk communities. Drylands cover 30% of the Earth's land area, and are found in 100 nations. "People do not often associate forests with arid areas, yet they are critical in terms of soil protection, mitigating climate change, maintaining biodiversity etc," said Eduardo Rojas, FAO's assistant director general. "In terms of supporting livelihoods for local communities, forests are very important, " he told BBC News. [more]