The power of gao trees

The Guardian Weekly - - Reply -

Ruth Ma­clean’s ar­ti­cle (Power of gao, 31 Au­gust), on the re­dis­cov­ery of th e en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of gao, is ex­cit­ing. Gao trees’ abil­ity to con­trol soil ero­sion, cre­ate a cooler mi­cro­cli­mate, re­tain wa­ter, fix ni­tro­gen to fer­tilise soil, and pro­vide an­i­mal fod­der and medicine would be a great bless­ing to farm­ers in the semi-arid re­gions of the world. An­other great ad­van­tage of gao plan­ta­tions is the pos­si­bil­ity they of­fer of grow­ing crops un­der the trees. Ev­ery gao tree is in­deed worth 10 cows. Per­haps the ma­jor ben­e­fit of grow­ing gao trees may be to com­bat global warm­ing.

The poor peo­ple of Niger who re­dis­cov­ered the ben­e­fits of grow­ing gao trees de­serve our ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Bill Mathew

Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia

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