Forestation should be a national effort for each country and plating areas that are not used for agriculture should be a priority of each government.
Sustainable Forestry in Desert Lands of Egypt Using Sewage Water
In the mid 90s, the “National Programme for the Safe Use of Treated Sewage Water for Afforestation” was launched. Within the framework of this programme, a pilot project was conducted on over 4,000 hectares spread over the country to determine the success/failure of afforestation using basic-treated sewage water (Figure 1). The afforestation includes different species, i.e., Acacia (Acacia nilotica and Acacia saligna), Casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia), Cupressus (Cupressus sempervirens), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), African Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Pinus (Pinus pinea), in addition to Jatropha (Jatropha curcas) and Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) as biofuel crops. The results of the pilot project clearly revealed that sewage water can be used for the establishment of new plantations in desert lands and showed high potential for afforestation of multipurpose species of socio-economic importance.
Objectives of afforestation in Egypt
Afforestation is the planting of trees on land formerly used for purposes other than forestry. Afforestation in Egypt has a multi-functional approach, as new established plantations can be of considerable economical, ecological, and social importance. The overall objectives are:
- Decreasing pollution as growing trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- Protection against desertification, sand dune fixation, erosion prevention, and coastal protection.
- Efficient use of water resources.
- Wood production and biofuel-crop production, as a renewable energy source.
- Human settlement protection from wind and sand.
- Food security for an increasing population through protection of arable and new reclaimed lands from wind and combating desertification.
- Creating new jobs and qualification opportunities among young people whose unemployment rate is high.
- Offering recreational opportunities for local people as well as tourists due to the attraction of forests in arid regions.
The Sahara Forest Project, which aims to create green oases in desert areas, has signed a deal to build a pilot plant in Aqaba, near the Red Sea in Jordan. With funding from the Norwegian government, the team plans to begin building the pilot plant on a 200,000 square metre site in 2012.
The world has an abundance of sunlight, seawater, carbon dioxide and arid land, says Joakim Hauge, CEO of the Sahara Forest Project. “These resources could be used for profitable and sustainable production of food, water and renewable energy, while combating the greenhouse effect through binding CO2 in new vegetation in arid areas.”
If all goes to plan, the plant will consist of a saltwater greenhouse to grow vegetables and algae for fuel. Water piped from the Red Sea will cool air flowing into the greenhouse, providing good growing conditions for the crops. The air will then be passed over pipes containing seawater heated by the sun. The resulting hot, humid air will finally meet a series of vertical pipes containing cold seawater, causing fresh water to condense and run down the pipes to collectors below.
This fresh water will be heated by a Concentrating Solar Power Plant to provide steam to drive a turbine, generating electricity. In turn, the electricity will be used to power the greenhouse’s pumps and fans. The water will also be used to grow crops around the greenhouse.
Finally, excess heat generated by the solar power plant will be used to produce drinking water through desalination.