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Converting the Sahara to a leafy refuge Sep 4th, 2010 3:01:18 pm - Subscribe
Mood | just wondering
Random Thought | Governments FORMERLY feared that they could not control forested areas

I was thinking another day about the Sahara desert, and other deserts, especially deserts not so far from a west coast. And I was wondering how they could be transformed into green amazonias covered in vegetation, and then later have old-growth trees, and canopy-type rainforests. So I came up with an idea and a theory.

And my theory was this: That a desert cannot perpetuate a forest because of the glare. The glare causes dry air. And the dry air conducts heat very well. Then greens have a hard time growing because the heat spikes dehydrate the foliage. What they need is a cuddly cloud of humidity to protect them from the noonday heat.

So I thought about the misting machines they have in the summer in theme parks, to keep the people cool. And I thought that machines like that could be used to keep the greens cool too. And I was certain that agribusiness has already been using that technology. And the next thing I thought of was canopy shade, and wick watering.

And I began to wonder, how large must a forest be (because a forest generates its own mist and humidity); how large must a forest be before it can begin to overtake the surrounding baked-clay and wilted grass terrain?

Especially if that forest is located on a west coast?

I imagined people in flip-flops and khaki shorts raising a hemp or nylon net. Planting aggressive leafy vines to cover the net and provide shade. Wick watering young trees (especially trees that pump humidity into the air). Using misting machines at edges or windbreaks. Measuring the growth (or shrink) of the forest. And finding that equilibrium point. The point where the forest could perpetuate itself.

After I thought about all that, I became certain that it already had been done. That people already knew how much forest it takes. And that the real enemy of the forest, on a west coast especially, is people: people with axes and chain saws, people with plows and hoes, people with mortar and bricks.

Can a new rainforest be started that will delve into the Sahara desert? Won't life be better for future generations on earth if greenery covers former deserts? Cannot food-producing plants be found that thrive in a jungle environment? Surely land doesn't have to be cleared to produce food for its people?

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