The African country of Niger has long been viewed as a dry wasteland that’s steadily decaying into desert. But now, more than 7 million acres are covered with new trees, and satellites show the country is greener than it was 30 years ago. The reason? Well according the an encouraging article in the New York Times, it’s because local farmers have begun receiving ownership of the trees, and instead of just cutting them down for firewood, they are finding it far more lucrative to protect the trees and sell their branches, pods, fruit, and bark. Indeed, by taking the small but radical step of protecting saplings rather than clearing them for their small plots, local farmers are bringing increased fertility to this needy African nation.