An oasis in the middle a desert


by Susana Díez

Posted on October 17, 2019

An oasis in the middle a desert

Sometimes personal initiatives are more successful than government programs. In the mountainous northern regions of India, Anand Dhawaj Negi managed to create an oasis where there was nothing before. When he retired from his job he was able to devote himself to his passion.


The Department of Agriculture of India had declared an area of more than 1 million acres as uncultivable. But our protagonist decided to try on his own to change this situation. He dedicated himself to looking for different plant options until he found one that could grow in this habitat. In his search, he invested all his savings mixing traditional techniques and scientific research. In the beginning, he didn't get their plantations to survive. Their mortality rates were very high, around 85%. Thanks to his research work, he got amazing results. He found different species of plants that could adapt to that environment. Mortality rates fell to 1%.

Not only has an arid zone been repopulated, but it has also achieved the collaboration of people living in the region. Neri has taught them the techniques to grow food. The success of the plantations has allowed the cultivation of potatoes, green peas, apples, apricots, and kidney beans. Population participation is fundamental so that the project is maintained over time. There has been an improvement in the quality of life of the entire environment. Concern for deforestation and climate change has convinced them of the need for adaptation and transformation.

They are taking care of a forest that occupies more than 160 acres. This forest is managed in a sustainable way to provide many benefits. All users of the forest play an important role in his protection. Nery's efforts are currently focused on coniferous tree planting. According to most of the investigations, they are the ones that most protect against climate change. Evergreen coniferous provides both winter and summer energy conservation benefits.


Conifers trees are important as carbon sinks, as the photosynthesis removes carbon from the atmosphere and their giant trucks can store immense amounts of carbon for hundreds if not thousands of years. All these reasons have forced Nery to continue his investigation to ensure that conifer trees can be planted in the Kinnaur region. So far, his attempts have not been successful enough to begin large-scale planting.

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