Case Study: Sahel Desertification

What is desertification: It is the term used to describe the changing of semi arid (dry) areas into desert. It is severe in Sudan, Chad, Senegal and Burkina Faso

What are the causes:

  • Overcultivation: the land is continually used for crops and does not have time to recover eventually al the nutrients are depleted (taken out) and the ground eventually turns to dust.
  • Overgrazing: In some areas animals have eaten all the vegetation leaving bare soil.
  • Deforestation: Cutting down trees leaves soil open to erosion by wind and rain.
  • Climate Change: Decrease in rainfall and rise in temperatures causes vegetation to die

What is being done to solve the problem?

 Over the past twelve years Oxfam has worked with local villagers in Yatenga (Burkina Faso) training them in the process of BUNDING. This is building lines of stones across a slope to stop water and soil running away. This method preserves the topsoil and has improved farming and food production in the village.

Burkina Faso - desertification

This video shows the Sahel region south of the Sahara is at risk of becoming desert. Elders in a village in Burkina Faso describe how the area has changed from a fertile area to a drought-prone near-desert. The area experiences a dry season which can last up to eight or nine months. During this time rivers dry up and people, animals and crops are jeopardised.

This video showcases the Sahel region


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