Sahel (Africa) Desertification & Conservation

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Information about Sahel (Africa) Desertification & Conservation

Published on August 3, 2008

Author: arvindtirkey


Slide 1: Prepared by - ARVIND TIRKEY 1 W E L C O M E TO Slide 2: DESERTIFICATION IN SAHEL - AFRICA SAHEL - DESERTIFICATION : SAHEL - DESERTIFICATION Sahel - A semiarid region of north-central Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Since the 1960s it has been afflicted by prolonged periods of extensive drought. Semiarid zone, western and north-central Africa. Extending from Senegal eastward to The Sudan, it forms a narrow transitional band between the arid Sahara to the north and the humid savannas to the south. Beginning in the late 20th century, it was subjected to increased desertification and soil erosion caused by natural climate changes as well as overgrazing and overfarming. The countries of the zone suffered a devastating drought and famine in the early 1970s, and by 1973 sections of the Sahara had advanced southward as much as 60 mi (100 km). Severe drought and famine again struck the region in 1983 – 85. Efforts by local governments to combat desertification in the Sahel have met with limited success.   The countries of the Sahel today include Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea. (source: Location of Sahel in Africa : Location of Sahel in Africa Image source: Desertification - a threat to the Sahel : Desertification - a threat to the Sahel Source: Written: August 1994 For reference: Eden Foundation, Sweden (1994:1) Land covers 14.9 billion hectares of the earth's surface. A UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) study shows that 6.1 billion hectares are dryland of which 1 billion hectares are naturally hyperarid desert. The rest of the dryland has either become desert or is being threatened by desertification. One quarter of the world's population inhabit the drylands and depend on this area for their livelihood. Slide 6: The Tanout area, situated just south of the Sahara desert, is one of the driest inhabited places on earth (with a yearly rainfall of 200 mm). The region has about 300,000 inhabitants and their main problems are lack of food, water and a stable environment. Slide 7: In the past, the region was a savanna composed of trees and grass. The elders remember a time when they went hunting antelopes and lions, but today the wildlife is gone and so is the savannah. Savanna - Flat grasslands of tropical or subtropical region. The term savanna was originally used to describe a tropical grasslands with more or less scattered dense tree areas. This vegetation type is very abundant in tropical and subtropical areas, primarily because of climatic factors. Slide 8: Farmers cultivate millet and sorghum (two drought-tolerant crops) and employ slash-and burn practices to clear their fields. Slide 9: After harvest, trees and bushes are removed. Millet straws are gathered around healthy plants and set on fire. Slide 10: The fields are left denuded and exposed to the strong Saharan winds, which leads to erosion and contributes to the desertification process. Slide 11: No longer protected, the young millet plants are easily destroyed by the heavy sandstorms and need to be resown, resulting in unsatisfying harvests. Slide 12: Without sufficient food to eat, the farmers are forced to go on exodus, leaving the women and children behind with nothing to eat. Few children get to experience a childhood with their father. Slide 13: Eden Foundation (A Non Governmental Organisation) have suggested solution is to help the farmers revegetate their land with the means available to them. Slide 14: Unprotected field, destroyed by wind and erosion Annuals protected from the trees of Eden's field station By showing what impact trees have on the environment, the farmers see a need to revegetate. Slide 15: The farmers go to the NGO’s and are given seeds for free from species that have been tested at their field station. The trees (provided by NGO’s like Eden foundation) grow slowly but produce food, even in times of need, and do not need to be irrigated. Slide 16: "Before I met Eden (NGO), the trees of my field had been cut down and I didn't know what to do, because making a tree or bush grow without irrigation was a job for God. But thanks to Eden I now have plants growing in my field again. I am very happy about it!“- Hasan Kalala, Dalli South Slide 17: The Eden (NGO) trees produce fruits of good economic value that will either be consumed within the household or sold at the market. "You must come and see what we have collected so far this year! We make a lot of money from our Eden fruits and people are very eager to buy them!"- Zakari Haruna from Mare Slide 18: "We really appreciate NGO projects! Thanks to our Eden trees, we don't have to leave the village after harvest anymore but can stay at home with our families. There is no easier solution than to direct seed plants that will grow without water and produce food, and I would much rather stay here with my family and live from our trees..." - Djibrilu Kader from Taridal Slide 19: SOLUTIONS EDEN FOUNDATION’S WORK Niger is one of the driest countries in the world, situated south of the Sahara desert. The people are poor and have neither money nor water to spare. Our solution is to bring them trees and bushes that can grow naturally in this dry area and give food, even in times of need.Since our arrival, Eden Foundation has served more than 2500 households in the region. Slide 20: The trees and bushes NGOs offer have been researched at local field station and need neither irrigation nor chemical fertilizers to grow. The method they use is called direct seeding and is adapted to the farmers' means. The farmers come to NGOs on their own accord and can order from a list of Eden (NGO) species. The seeds are free and they show them how to direct seed. They also give advice on preventive health and other practicalities. "Thanks to our Eden trees, we've had food to eat even though the millet failed. For the last three years, we haven't had a single good rain in our village and this year's harvest lasted less than a month. Instead, my family has lived from the Eden fruits on our field which gives us food for the day. We depend on it, for there is nothing else to eat around here." - Musa Abari from Garin Farara Slide 21: Direct Seeding Direct seeding means that you sow a tree directly in the ground without watering it, instead of raising a seedling in a protected nursery and transplanting it later on. Though the plant grows slowly, the direct seeded perennial produces an extensive root system that enables the young plant to reach moisture remaining in the soil long after the rainy season has ended. Seedlings raised in nurseries however produce a larger plant but have an inadequate root system and can't support themselves during the extreme dry season without irrigation. Direct seeding is therefore the only practical solution for our farmers in Tanout who have no water to spare.} Direct seeded plant Seedling raised in nursery Slide 22: "You must come and see the plants I have direct seeded in my garden. Thanks to Eden, our men have trees in their fields again and we, the women, make money from the fruits they produce. This allows us to buy many things for our families such as millet, salt and spices." - Mrs. Lawali Hasan from Wala Source: ANY QUESTIONS : ANY QUESTIONS ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Slide 24: Merci Danke gut Thank you Dhanyavad

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