Spain Holds Reforestation Project, Tackles Desertification in Altiplano

Hundreds of years ago, the Altiplano was believed to be a fertile prairie. In the field that stretches between the regions of Granada, Almeria, and Murcia, you can find oak trees and various types of medicinal and spice plants, such as jupiter and savine.

However, the meadow is now starting to look barren. Various human activities have made many trees and plants there eliminated. As a result, the field, which is located at an altitude of more than 1,600 meters above sea level, is experiencing water scarcity.

The climate is very unfriendly in this desert. In winter, it usually snows with a ‘biting’ air temperature. Summer can last for months. Many fear that the Altiplano prairie will turn into a desert if action is not taken to prevent it.

West side of the Sierra de Maria -Los Velez National Park area - Wikipedia

West side of the Sierra de Maria -Los Velez National Park area – Wikipedia

The government of the region of Andalusia, where Altiplano is located, in collaboration with the non-profit organization AlVeLal, is seeking to restore the one million hectare stretch of land to its former condition, after centuries of using it for wheat and olive farming, and livestock.

Jaime Lara, director of the Sierra de María-Los Vélez National Park, is involved in the project. cattle, wood, grass, and so on.”

This ambitious green belt project has actually been launched since 2015 and is expected to take until at least 2035. However, due to various reasons, it has only been realized this year.

Reforestation using drones.  (Facebook: iniciativaAlVelAl)

Reforestation using drones. (Facebook: iniciativaAlVelAl)

To restore vegetation, scientists are using drones to spread seeds of plant and tree species across the highlands.

Reforestation in the Andalusian region is difficult and expensive. Conservationists have to use large machines to open furrows in the soil for water to seep in, which in turn destroys existing vegetation or has to water for years, and provides nutrients in the soil.

That’s why this project undertakes landscape restoration based on planting and sowing techniques.

Over two days, about 500,000 seeds were dropped from drones over 50 hectares of land.

Reforestation technician Daniel Calatayud said the seeds sown were protected in such a way that they were not eaten by local wildlife. “We wrapped it in capsules. These capsules are designed to protect them from rodents and birds, but are also designed to keep the seeds moist enough after a rain so that the seeds don’t dry out in the sun, and have time to germinate.”

The Andalusian regional government, in collaboration with the non-profit organization AlVeLal, is working to restore the one million hectare stretch of land in the Altiplano to its original state, with a replanting program, using technology.  (Facebook: iniciativaAlVelAl)

The Andalusian regional government, in collaboration with the non-profit organization AlVeLal, is working to restore the one million hectare stretch of land in the Altiplano to its original state, with a replanting program, using technology. (Facebook: iniciativaAlVelAl)

Local communities, breeders, farmers and entrepreneurs from 76 nearby cities are encouraged to participate by participating in planting crops and trees with their own hands

Scientists hope that the trees and plants they grow can adapt, spread, and survive the extreme conditions that climate change can bring.

A 2016 study, published in the journal Science, predicts southern Spain will become a desert and its forests will disappear unless global warming is brought under control.

The researchers say that under the most extreme scenario, where global warming reaches two degrees Celsius, desert will expand over Spain, North Africa and the Near East, while vegetation in the region will experience significant changes from the coast to the mountains. [ab/ka]

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