“Petroleum products are being used in an ingenious effort to upgrade submarginal land. In Libya the Esso Research and Engineering Company undertook in 1961 to stabilize 125 acres of shifting sand dunes by spraying them with a low-grade oil. Such dunes usually cannot support even vegetation that will grow in the desert, but the company announced that 80 percent of the eucalyptus and acacia seedlings it had planted on the dunes had survived and are now trees averaging 25 feet in height. The Libyan government has contracted for the stabilization of 3,000 additional acres, an action that could eventually lead to the creation of a national forest in the treeless desert kingdom.”

Scientific American, January 1967

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