The "Green Dam"


The "Green Dam"
The desert occupies 85% of the Algerian territory, 2 million square kilometers south of the Saharan Atlas. 3% of arable land is concentrated in the northern coastal plains. To protect them from the advancing desert, a spectacular project was launched in the 1970s: the "Green Dam". This gigantic operation was to plant a forest strip 4-25 km wide 1200 km long, between the Tunisian and Moroccan borders. Only 160,000 of the 3 million hectares were actually provided woodlands between 1974 and 1981. Hassi Bahbah, located 54 km north of Djelfa, the wall of trees seems to resist, but many sectors are now dry, riddled with illegal felling of timber, or ravaged by the pine processionary caterpillars. Ignoring the advice of agronomists, the project managers military had indeed opted for a single-species plantation Aleppo pines. Since 2000, hired by the ratification of the UN Convention on the fight against desertification (1994), the government wants to strengthen and expand again the "green dam" over 3 million hectares in improving and diversifying the plantations.