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  • Writer's pictureGustavo Bernal Torres

How Farmers in Earth’s Least Developed Country Grew 200 Million Trees

In arid Niger, south of the Sahara, farmers who allowed cut trees to regrow in their fields have seen crop yields soar.

  • In the past 35 years, as scientists begged nations to get serious about reviving forests, one of Earth’s poorest countries, in one of the planet’s harshest regions, added an astonishing 200 million new trees—maybe more. Across at least 12 million acres of Niger, woodlands have been re-established with little outside help, almost no money, and without driving people off their land. The trees here weren’t planted; they were encouraged to come back naturally, nurtured by thousands of farmers. Now, fresh trees are popping up in village after village. As a result, soils are more fertile and moister, and crop yields are up.

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