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


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

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

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

Human Impact

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

Human impact1

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

Physical Impacts of Desertification

  • Soil erosion

  • Loss of plants and animals

  • Gullying

  • Dry rivers

  • Growth of Desert

  • Increase in Sand Storms

  • Flash Floods



  • 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

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

Jojoba Plantation

What can be done1

What Can Be Done?

  • Terracing

    • Prevents rainfall from washing away topsoil and nutrients.

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

Desertification in the sahel

  • 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

Nat. Geo. Photo Gallery: The Sahel


Writing prompt

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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