Desertification is a great concern in Egypt because its landmass is 96% desert. However, an ambitious program to combat desertification is making sustainable, commercial forests with systems that feed the forest only wastewater. So far, the program has 36 tracts of land throughout Egypt, with Serapium Forest as the most prosperous.
The 500-mile Serapium forest has teak, eucalyptus, and mahogany trees. It’s a short distance from the crowded Egyptian city of Ismailia, inhabited by 400,000 people who produce a significant amount of sewage water every day.
The sewage water arrives at the forest via massive microorganism-populated underground vats. Oxygen is fed into the system to accelerate the bacterial purification process. Finally, a network of pipes then spits out the wastewater throughout the forest. The human wastewater is comparable to a MiracleGro formula since it’s rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, except it’s free thanks to Ismailia’s residents.
Egyptian scientists have researched the wastewater potential for afforestation in the country. They discovered that it could turn 1.6 million acres of desert into commercial forests that are arable and economically practical. The National Program for the Safe Use of Treated Sewage Water for Afforestation is achieving the country’s commendable ambitions. The effort was first voiced in 1992 at the UN Rio conference on climate change.
Forest Finance, a German forest investment company, is a supporter of the research. The company has already established near-natural forests in Vietnam and Panama to aid the countries in CO2 absorption, wildlife conservation, and economic development. Forest Finance wants to include a plantation on the Serapium site to increase the number of species and biodiversity, which hopefully results in an enormous array of life and increased profits.
Desertification is a process where land that was once semi-arable or fertile becomes desert due to unsustainable agricultural practices or long-lasting droughts. As the desert expands, people start to lose ground and vegetation. Some countries are taking action and bringing back biodiversity and crops, which had slowly died out when desertification took over.
Africa is taking action with their successfully large and healthy Great Green Wall project in the Sahel region. Over ten countries built the massive patchwork wedge of vegetation to combat desertification. The Chinese also made a wall similar to Egypt’s, called the Three-North Shelter Forest Program.