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Posted on Feb 24, 03:58PM | IANS
Moscow, Feb 24 : Following an ambitious programme to turn desert land into a "flowering garden", Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ordered the planting of three million trees in the country in 2013.
Half of that number will span the 100-km stretch between the towns of Anau and Baharly in the country's south, according to Turkmenistan.gov.tm.
The other 1.5 million saplings are to be planted across the republic's five regions.
The planting is to comprise unspecified deciduous, coniferous and fruit trees, as well as grapevine, all of which are to be provided with sufficient irrigation.
The plan kickstarts Turkmenistan's National Forest Programme, signed into law Friday by Berdymukhamedov.
More than 70 percent of Turkmenistan's territory is occupied by the Karakum desert, and desertification remains a pressing issue for the country, as well as for most of Central Asia.
Berdymukhamedov's three-million-tree plan is far from the most extravagant desertification cure proposed for the region.
In the 1960s, the Soviet Union was working on a plan to reroute Siberian rivers flowing to the Arctic Sea south to Central Asia.
The project, whose possible environmental effects were never fully evaluated, was abandoned due to lack of funding.