Australian "crazy white farmer" greens a stretch of Africa's arid Sahel region.

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neverfail
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Australian "crazy white farmer" greens a stretch of Africa's arid Sahel region.

Post by neverfail » Sat Jul 23, 2022 7:56 pm

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-24/ ... /101189330

Australian agronomist Tony Rinaudo is turning African deserts into forests
Well, into woodland regions anyhow!
By the side of a road in a desert in Niger, Tony Rinaudo had the eureka moment that would change not only his life but the lives of millions of people in West Africa and beyond.

Mr Rinaudo – who at the time had spent more than two years in the West African country attempting to halt the devastating creep of desertification and "failing miserably" – looked around as he let air out of his tyres so he could proceed on the sandy road.

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It was a dispiriting sight.

In the early 1980s, Niger was "a landscape on the point of ecological collapse," Mr Rinaudo tells ABC RN's Soul Search.

Farmers had cut down existing native forests decades earlier, leaving a denuded landscape sandblasted by 70 kilometre per hour winds and ravaged by high soil surface temperatures and apocalyptic dust storms.

On the desolate road, Mr Rinaudo, a devout Christian, said a prayer and soon after, noticed "a useless looking bush" nearby. He walked over to take a closer look.

"In that instant, everything changed," he says. "I realised, no, it's not a bush, it's not an agricultural weed – it's a tree, and it's been cut down."

Nigerien farmers typically slashed the small shoots that grew from tree stumps, but Mr Rinaudo realised in that moment these "suckers" offered the answer he was looking for.

"Everything that we needed was literally at our feet," he says. "I realised then I didn't need to plant trees, we weren't fighting the Sahara Desert, I didn't need a multi-million budget – we just needed to work with nature instead of fighting it and destroying it."

Mr Rinaudo is at pains to point out that growing trees from stumps – what he called farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR) – is not new.

It's a centuries-old method of cultivation practised around the world.

The key to FMNR's success is its simplicity. Mr Rinaudo quotes permaculture founder Bill Mollison, who said "though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple."
(See photos of restored Sahel landscape after Tony Rinaudo persuaded local farming communities to change traditional practices. - link.)

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neverfail
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Re: Australian "crazy white farmer" greens a stretch of Africa's arid Sahel region.

Post by neverfail » Sun Jul 24, 2022 4:12 am

The sequence of photos show Sahara conditions trplaced by what in my country would be defined as bushland.

So instead of having to endure dust storms the inhabitants of the Sahel might only need to beware of runaway bushfires.

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