Green desert project

The Great Green Wall project, launched a decade ago, aims to improve life in Africa’s desert regions by planting a belt of trees across the entire width of the continent. 

Once completed, it will be the largest living structure on Earth, stretching across 20 countries – from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east.

This image, captured by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, gives a glimpse of progress to date, with the edge of the dry desert contrasted with vegetated land. Signs of land degradation can be seen as brighter “islands” around villages and to a lesser extent along roads and rivers showing bare soil and degraded vegetation. 

The image shows parts of three west African countries: Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. 

By 2030, the project aims to have restored 100 million hectares of degraded land, sequestered 250 million tonnes of carbon and created 10 million green jobs.

Copernicus Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission. Each satellite carries a high-resolution camera that images Earth’s surface in 13 spectral bands. The mission is mostly used to track changes in the way land is being used and to monitor the health of vegetation.

Related reading: Greening the Sahara

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