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Bastian Brandt

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Greening Huge Areas of Desert in a Minimal Amount of Time

Hi everyone

'10 Trucks + 30 men + 300 days a year = greening 3,000 hectare each year'
(more trucks + more men = multiply the amount)

I recently watched an episode of Dirty Jobs, where they load a smaller truck with material they then spray on huge areas of soil. This technique inspired me, to come up with my own system to green huge areas in a minimal period of time.

The system works as followed:

1. Spray the dry soil with a material, that is very dry and which sucks up the slightest bit of humility, while cooling the desert soil underneath it. Cooling huge areas of desert soil is one part, now comes the tricky part, this material needs to let some sunlight through so that photosynthesis can happen.

2. If the soil is now cooled and way more humid, drive the same area with a second truck, that this time not sprays, but shoots seeds through the covering layer into the humid soil.

This way no-one would have to work on every square meter of ground, but drive up huge areas of soil, first spraying them, then shooting resilient seeds into it. But what material could be used, to cover and cool the soil as explained above?

Yours Sincerely

Bastian Brandt

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    Dec 13 2011: As a desert (Sonoran desert of Arizona, USA) dweller your idea caught my eye.
    It's a real longshot, but if your idea came to fruition as a profitable, patentable, taxable process this beautiful desert, and all the others, would become cornfields.
    I hope you will focus exclusively on a desert like the Atacama Desert of Chile, or the Sahara of Africa where you will only impact a few Nomadic tribes and ALMOST no flora or fauna.
    Your homeland wages a never-ending battle to keep water out. How did you become interested in bringing water in?
    Mr. Brandt, you may want to edit line 2 of paragraph 1 in your explanation of how the system works. I'm pretty sure you meant to type "humidity", not "humility", [which is another problem altogether]. Thank you for sharing your idea.
  • Dec 15 2011: What you are describing is permaculture. There are methods to restore or prevent desertification. There are methods to prevent and repair erosion, to recharge aquifers with trees and earthworks. Abused desert can be made healthy again with soil imprinters and clay/compost seed balls. You can dramatically increase soil depth with proper livestock management. It isn't a lack of technology or of resources it is a lack of political will and a lack of proven profitable business models...but I'm working on it. :)
  • Dec 11 2011: Would this not absoloutely destroy the wildlife that exists there, no matter how small? I mean you would be wiping out the natural habitat.

    Otherwise, the main issue would be water, and water is scarce in the desert. Building a pipeline out would probably outweigh the cost of setting up a farm in greener pastures. If you do not continually provide the area with water, it would be desert again pretty quickly. And contrary to popular belief, freshwater is becoming scarce.