Desertification in the sahel
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DESERTIFICATION IN THE SAHEL. WHAT IS DESERTIFICATION?. Desertification is the process in which arable land is turned into desert. It occurs mainly in semi-arid lands which border the world’s major deserts. What is the Sahel Like?. Semi-Arid Area Periods of Rainfall and Drought

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DESERTIFICATION IN THE SAHEL

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DESERTIFICATION IN THE SAHEL


WHAT IS DESERTIFICATION?

  • Desertification is the process in which arable land is turned into desert.

  • It occurs mainly in semi-arid lands which border the world’s major deserts.


What is the Sahel Like?

  • Semi-Arid Area

  • Periods of Rainfall and Drought

  • Supports Small Bushes

  • Wind-Battered Trees


Physical Reasons For Desertification In The Sahel

  • 1950s, 1960s- above average rainfall, causing nomadic herders to settle and farmers to intensify agriculture.

  • 1970s- Below average rainfall leads to severe drought. Crops and animals die. The Sahara Desert advances.


Human Impact

  • Overgrazing- Nomadic herders settle in one place. Herds overgraze, stripping the land of any vegetation. No vegetation to protect the soil.


Human Impact

  • Cutting down trees- Trees protect the soil from wind and rain. Many of the trees have been cut down for firewood. Land has been stripped of trees.


Physical Impacts of Desertification

  • Soil erosion

  • Loss of plants and animals

  • Gullying

  • Dry rivers

  • Growth of Desert

  • Increase in Sand Storms

  • Flash Floods


Consequences

  • Encourages large-scale migration from rural areas to urban areas….increases poverty, shanty-towns, disease, malnutrition.

  • Prevents sustainable economic and social development of the region.

  • Economic damages and social costs are in the billions!


What Can Be Done?

  • Plant Trees

    • Roots bind the soil together

    • Leaves provide shade and intercept water

    • Provides fuel wood and building materials

    • Cheap, but very long-term


Jojoba Plantation


What Can Be Done?

  • Terracing

    • Prevents rainfall from washing away topsoil and nutrients.

    • Cheap to build- only need the people to perform the labor.


  • Sand shields/fences catch sand blown from both directions, forcing accumulation at desired place.

  • Controls erosion and increases likelihood of new vegetation.


Nat. Geo. Photo Gallery: The Sahel

  • http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/04/sahel/maitre-photography.html


Writing Prompt

Imagine you are a boy or girl living in the Sahel at the age of 15. Write a 1+ page story describing your life. Discuss positive/negative experiences you encounter on a daily basis. Describe what you and your family do each day. Be creative and detailed.


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