Thursday, 4 May 2017

Desertification in the Sahel

The Sahel region spreads across several countries in North Africa. The situation is that the Sahara desert is expanding South at a rapid rate. What are the causes and consequences of deforestation in the Sahel?

Why is Desertification Occurring?

Desertification in the Sahel is occurring at such a rapid rate due to a combination of both human and environmental factors. Climate change means that temperatures are rising and weather is becoming unpredictable. Combined with pressures on the land and resources by nomadic people of the Sahel means that the desert is moving forward.

Deforestation and overgrazing by nomadic communities remove vegetation at an alarming rate. Many of the Berber people inhabiting the Sahel do not realise the long term effects of overgrazing, and are dependent upon their livestock as this is their only livelihood. In addition, trees are removed for firewood - their many source of energy for cooking, heat and light. In fact, firewood supplies approximately 80% of energy for the people of the Sahel.

What are the Consequences of Deforestation and Overgrazing?

Yet removal of vegetation puts even more pressure on the land. Without tree roots in place to hold soil together, it is rapidly being blown away leaving land baron and infertile.

What are the additional Pressures on the Sahel?

In addition, there is an increasing population, putting more and more pressure on the land and it's resources.