In Algeria, work is finally starting on the green dam megaproject, which was officially launched in June 1970 by the second Algerian president, Houari Boumediene. The mega-project aims to reforest 1 million hectares of steppe between the wilayas of El Naâma and Tébessa.
In Algeria, unsustainable exploitation of the steppe is at the root of desertification. As a result, the steppe is seeing its component change, with whole areas becoming increasingly degraded, as is the case in the wilayas of El Naâma and Tébessa, where the Algerian government wants to combat the advance of the desert. This is why President Abdelmadjid Tebboune relaunched the green dam mega-project on 29 October 2023.
As part of this project, 1 million hectares of steppe will be reforested, over a distance of almost 1,500 km long and 20 km wide, between the wilayas of El Naâma and Tébessa, as well as in several other steppe areas in 183 councils and 1,200 localities in the wilayas of El Bayadh, Laghouat, Djelfa, Médéa, Bouira, M’sila, Batna, Khenchela, Sétif, Bordj Bou Arreridj and Biskra.
The forestry and agricultural services departments of the 13 wilayas concerned, together with the High Commission for the Development of the Steppe (HCDS), will be responsible for implementing this mega-reforestation project, which will increase the potential of steppe areas in Algeria from 3.7 to 4.7 million hectares by 2030, i.e. in seven years’ time.
Improving people’s quality of life
The tree species planted along this 1,500 km long steppe corridor are forest, pastoral and fruit trees, which will be used to protect river banks and mountain slopes, provide fodder for livestock and supply households with fruit.
In addition to combating desertification, the mega-project, which is being resumed after 53 years, will also improve the living conditions of over 7 million people in the 13 wilayas targeted, by creating jobs, income and services. The reforestation project was first launched in June 1970 by the second Algerian president, Houari Boumediene, who was in power between 1965 and 1976.