Reclaim Regions at Edges of Increasing Desert and Drought with Eco-Communities and High-Point Reforestation



This concept is to identify minimally inhabited areas on fringes of increasing drought, reclaiming them by clever community design that employs reforestation, green energy, sustainable agriculture and ranching, and lean industry. Reforestation in the right areas could distribute natural rainfall better, reclaiming arid lands and reducing flooding in nearby watersheds. (This concept could also be used in conjunction with refugee relocation as it requires repayment by providing a self-sufficient community laboring together to make best use of the land.)

What are the key outcomes and impact of your solution?

The communities would be

  1. carbon neutral
  2. producing >80% locally consumed food and water
  3. producing 100% of locally consumed energy
  4. employing >95% of community adults, including those with disabilities
  5. sanitary
  6. sustainable, including multi-generation growth and expansion into nearby communities
  7. include greenhouses to grow "functional" trees for reforestation and building of new communities nearby; target is to continuously expand along the drought-region boundaries to reforest larger areas. (Need to model this for each area selected to determine feasible expansion plan.)

What actions do you propose to realize your stated goals?

This requires locational adaptation by experts in fields ranging from agriculture to civil engineering. A hasty assessment includes:

1. Assemble teams, incremental problem statements, and detailed timeline & budget; most likely, these would be global university student and research teams with finite goals from among the following:

2. Select site using imagery; identify areas where

  • changes over last 10 years indicate regional risk of succumbing to drought
  • human habitation is low
  • thermal extremes indicate geothermal benefits
  • aquifers of adequate capacity exist to potentially reclaim regions
  • there are local elevations where tree farms could be initiated, sustainable by local aquifers and rainfall collection
  • weather trends indicate vapor content and dew point which could be achieved by localized cooling from a small forest


3. Design community using biosphere planning techniques:

  • individual dwellings should have highly efficient layout to minimize materials (using genetic algorithms for structure, printing of masonry from local materials, etc.), efficient plumbing and air exchange, and maximum use of renewable energy (solar lighting, geothermal). Minimal recurring maintenance should be required (no "painting," etc.). Place at least sleeping and storage areas underground for thermal moderation.
  • Communal facilities could include
  • - regionally appropriate solar, wind, hydroelectric, or geothermal energy collection/generation
  • - energy storage (phase change, chemical), conversion, and transmission
  • - extraction from local aquifers or desalination, where necessary
  • - waste treatment making maximum use of locally adapted bio-cleansing autotrophs
  • - communication infrastructure
  • - community buildings to include medical and schools
  • - lean industry to make use of local tradable resource (agricultural, animal, mineral, aesthetic, intellectual...) and which will minimize waste and environmental impact
  • - tree farms, orchards, vineyards need to be planned, grown, sustained on local higher elevations to generate localized cooling and encourage natural rainfall. Wind farms or photovoltaic systems need to be sized to move water for irrigation, as needed. Functional plants (like cedars surrounding grazing land for natural pest control) and edible plants near habitations should be included in the forest design.
  • - Greenhouses and turf farms to start and propagate locally adapted food plants, grazing turf, and functional trees; these should not only sustain current growing community, but also be oversized to provide for additional reforestation nearby
  • Minimize non-essential structures (billboards, road signs, etc.)
  • Minimize "pavement" to maximize horticultural areas
  • Plan agriculture and livestock production to provide mostly locally raised food supply with remainder offset by trade of local resources/finished goods
  • Plan for crop/grazing rotation and "rest"  years to replenish land; note that the "four springs" concept of rotational grazing also increases nutritional value of produce like milk by having grazing stock consuming the most nutrient-rich portions of emerging plants.
  • Plan for multi-generation expansion of the forest and the community
  • Design public works to be staffed by people with disabilities; all members of a community should be capable of contributing in a satisfying capacity.


4. Prepare and construct using mobile equipment but local materials and labor. Augment with volunteers.

  • Mobilize excavation/drilling equipment
  • Analyze local/regional natural resources to determine fabrication approach
  • Mobilize equipment for crushing/aggregation/printing/forming, etc.
  • Train/use local and volunteer labor for construction


5. Relocate inhabitants with contract to repay in labor; each family must produce sufficient food or trade goods to sustain itself and its portion of the community infrastructure. The more detailed the community plan, the more diverse the locally provided employment opportunities.

6. Establish an unpaid community council whose duties include ensuring sustainability.

Who will take these actions?

Target geography

What do you expect are the costs associated with piloting and implementing the solution, and what is your business model?


Related solutions


Solution summary
Planned Eco-Communities for Reforestation
Team solution: Only members listed on the solution's Contributors tab will be able to edit this solution. Members can request to join the solution team on the Contributors tab. The solution owner can open this solution for anyone to edit using the Admin tab.
Challenge: Fuel: Carbon Contributions 2017
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