When i first considered this obvious movement, i had no references but it makes sense that local enthusiasts would have long since been pushing exactly this agenda. As it turns out it goes back to the twenties for enthusiasts.
I do think it is completely possible to walk the forest back deep into the desert using the passive atmospheric water harvesting systems already tested out. This is huge.
What this really does is maintain a hundred percent humidity and as we encroach on the desert that humidity follows us in. The whole Sahel can be dealt with in this manner.
The pay off is that we not only fully water the Sahel but we slowly begin watering the drainage systems leading into the desert itself. This allows us to steadily expand into the desert as we expand forested drainage systems. In time the whole Sahara could possibly become another Amazon with huge lakes and rivers and a massive population of ten billion...