Online symposium

Forestation in drylands

27th OCTOBER 2020

9:00h-13:00h CET


Since several decades now, scientific evidence for global warming has increasingly influenced people, policy makers, industries and NGO´s to reduce emissions that are understood to be responsible for climate change. More recently, forests have become part of the scientific and public debate on global warming.


The massive loss of forests in Brazil, Russia and Australia due to fires have added considerable quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and reduced the capacity to capture carbon for several years. Scientists and Forest engineers are concerned that global warming will further affect forests, due to draughts, wildfires and competition with the increasing need of farmland.

On the other hand, at the WEF summit in Davos early this year, the US President’s delegation brought the One Trillion Tree initiative under the attention of the world. In May 2020, the European Commission communicated its EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, including the planting of 3 billion additional trees.


Trees have become the hope to save the planet, it seems. But where can new trees be planted, on an overpopulated planet where fertile land is increasingly be claimed for food production and housing? The options are limited, and the few vast areas that remain available are drylands.

This symposium  addresses the challenges that woods and forests in drylands are currently facing, and zoom in on real cases of large scale forestation in drylands in Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe.

Desert Leaves aims to increase and disseminate knowledge about forests and forestation in dryland regions, to connect and support people and organizations around the globe that are involved in dryland afforestation and forest preservation, and thus to support initiatives that pursuit the growth of sustainable forests in drylands.

Sign up!

The participation fee is 10€.

Participants will receive a confirmation of payment, and a PDF document containing the main contents of the symposium.

Scientific and organizing committee

Wim Cambien DLF
Dr. María González-Sanchís UPV
Dr. Antonio J. Molina UPV
Prof.Dr. Antonio D. del Campo DLF UPV

More info

The participation fee is 10€.
Participants will receive a confirmation of payment, and a PDF document containing the main contents of the symposium.

For details regarding the symposium, contact:
tel: 0034/674 39 20 38

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forestation and agroforestation in africa's drylands
Aida Bargues Tobella

Momentum for restoration is clearly building. Last year, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2021-2030 the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and numerous global and regional initiatives and efforts are underway. In this presentation I will give an overview on the global restoration agenda and on the principles and opportunities for Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR), with a special emphasis on Africa. I will discuss about the role of agroforestry in FLR, farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR), and about some of the potential pitfalls related to tree-based restoration.

Q&A at 9:45h


JiaoJun Zhu

China’s Three-North Afforestation Program (TNAP, ongoing from 1978 to 2050) over Northeast, Northwest, and North Central areas of ~4 million km2 (~42% of China, ~90% of the arid and semi-arid zones of China) is the world’s most ambitious afforestation project. Dr. Zhu will introduce the general status, progress, ecological and social-economic impacts and failures of TNAP during the past 40 years (1978~2017). He will explain why’s, how’s, the lessons learned, and give a view on the TNAP in the future (2020~2050), and hope to provide references to solve the environmental and social problems in the arid and semi-arid regions worldwide.

Q&A at 10:15h


Addressing the roots of plantation failure in Mediterranean Drylands: which is the margin for technical improvement?
Antonio Del Campo

Plantation failure during the first years after planting is by far the most important hindrance to deploy successful plantation programs in drylands. Environmental and technical factors are the most important causes behind seedling mortality. In this presentation, we address the issue of improving plantation establishment by disentangling site, meteorological and technical (project design, works and stock quality) factors and their individual contribution to plantation success. By these means, mortality in forestation programs can be better addressed by identifying key factors to work on.

Q&A at 10:45h


Irrigation for Trees: Forestation in a Hyper Arid Climate
Mohamed Abdel Hamyd Dawoud

In one of the most adverse climates for tree growth that are found on the planet, the United Arab Emirates have managed to plant more than 20,000 hectares of forests.  Dr. Dawoud will explain the challenges related to forestation in his country, such as needs for irrigation.

Q&A at 11:15h


Forestation in Western Australia and Carbon Certificates
Kent Broad

Inspired by the way the first Australians farmed and managed agricultural and rangeland processes and seeking urgent solutions to the climate crisis, Outback Carbon facilitates monetary capital provided by industry to establish robust, biodiverse reforestation carbon projects.  These projects provide a catalyst to rehabilitating degraded ecosystems and landscapes and multiple social, environmental and economic co-benefits.


Since the first ‘crops’ were sown by European settlers in a fragile and brittle environment over 200 years ago, carbon that had been stored in the soil by the first Australians over thousands of generations, has been continually mined and lost.  This now presents an opportunity to provide large scale carbon sinks that will also provide landscape and catchment scale ecosystem recovery.


Kent Broad will explain us the foundations of his business, and the potential of reforestation financed with carbon certificates.


Q&A at 11:45h

dr. aida bargués tobella
Postdoctoral Researcher at World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Kenya (2018-2020), and at Swedish University of Agricultrual Sciences

She holds an MSc in Forestry and another in Soil Science from Universitat de Lleida (Spain) and SLU, respectively, and received her PhD in the field of Soil Science from SLU. Aida’s main research interest is on the use of trees to restore degraded lands, with a focus on dryland sub-Saharan Africa. She is particularly interested in how changes in tree cover and land use in drylands affect the water cycle, and how trees can improve water security in such water-limited environments. During the past two years she has been based at World Agroforestry (ICRAF) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, where she has been working on landscape-level assessments of soil and land health across the global tropics. 

Jiaojun ZHU
Profesor at the Institute of Applied Ecology, and at the Qinyuang Forest CERN, Chinese Academy of Sciences

BS in Agronomy (1987) at Shenyang Agricultural University, China; MSc in Ecology (1990) at Institute of Applied Ecology of Chinese Academy of Sciences; and MSc in Agriculture (1998) and Ph.D. in Biosphere Science (2001) at Niigata University, Japan. Research Interests: Silviculture and Forest Ecology, particularly for secondary forests, plantations, and protective forests. Research contributions: the theories of protective maturity, methods for structure determination, and decline mechanisms or natural regeneration processes of forests and management practices. Published ~200 scientific papers in Chinese (~100) and English (~100) by first or corresponding author. IUFRO SAA in 2010.

Antonio D. del Campo
Board member Desert Leaves Foundation,
Professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia

He is a Forestry Engineer (1997) and Doctor (2002) from the University of Córdoba. He is a tenured professor at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, where he joined as associate professor (2001), making it compatible with forestry projects at EGMASA. His teaching is related to forest science and engineering; and his research, with the eco-hydrology of forest systems and with forest restoration. His merits have been recognized with four six-year terms by the National Commission for the Evaluation of Research Activity and he has more than 100 publications with peer review. He has participated in 30 national and international R + D + i projects, and in contracts with companies and Administrations, being the principal investigator in 25 of them. He has done stays at the universities of Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia. He is part of the FAO expert committee on forests and water as well as of the TF-IUFRO: Forests, Soil and Water Interactions.

dr. Mohamed Abdel Hamyd Dawoud
PhD, Manager at the Water Resources Department with the Environment Agency - ABU DHABI, UAE

He is a professor at National Water Research Center (on leave) and he is currently Water Resources Advisor with the Environment Agency – ABU DHABI, UAE.  He has graduated in civil engineering with honor degree and got his Master and Ph.D. from Ain Shams University through joint program with Colorado State University, USA.  Since 1991, he has maintained an active program of research and consulting activities, with particular emphasis on Groundwater aquifers artificial recharge with desalinated water, Reuse of TSE, desalination technology, and water resources management. His current research includes water supply and demand, solar desalination, groundwater management, aquifer storage and recovery, and Reuse of TSE in many countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Mali, Oman, KSA, and UAE. He is an editor in three international journals and reviewer for other 7. He has 5 published books and more than 75 published research papers in international peer-reviewed journals, and international conferences. He got the 2009 Abu Dhabi Excellence Award and 2011 HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Award. In 2011 he was awarded by the National Academies-USA as one of best four young Arab water scientists.

Kent broad
MSM Curtin Business School
Founder of Outback Carbon Pty

was a co-founding director of Auscarbon Pty Ltd (2006), a privately owned company that specializes in establishing large scale, low cost biodiverse carbon sinks by revegetating degraded areas of the Western Australian wheatbelt. He was also a co-founding director of Carbon Neutral Pty Ltd (2013) which supports businesses to measure, reduce and offset carbon emissions.

Having grown up in the Mid West region as a farmer and pastoralist for over 35 years, Kent has a long-term vision and passion to revitalise rural Australia by providing environmental, social and economic solutions. Kent was jointly responsible for successfully developing and establishing more than 12,000 ha of biodiverse revegetation carbon projects within the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor. 

Kent was involved in establishing the first Gold Standard project in Australia, one of the preferred carbon standards under the voluntary market in the world. He contributed to a $20 million, 30-year tender from an eastern states utility to voluntarily offset one of their projects and helped innovate, develop and manage numerous voluntary offsetting initiatives with clients, one of whom is one of Australia’s largest emitters.

He is the current WA representative on the National Carbon working Group for NRM WA.
Kent is now a co-founder of Outback Carbon Pty Ltd, a company with a vision to “To transform rural communities and restore the environment through the return of carbon capital”