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Desertification in the Sahel

Bordering the Sahara Desert and the Savannas, the Sahel region in Africa has been affected by devastating droughts over the last number of years. It has become a desert, making it more difficult to inhabit and produce anything on the land. For around 8 months of the year, the weather is dry. The rainy season only happens for a few short months and only produces around 4-8 inches of water. The population growth over the years has caused illegal farming to take place over the last few years and has resulted in major soil erosion and desertification to take place. 

The Impact of Humans

While the area of the Sahel region is already considered to be a dry place, the impact of the human population in the area has really affected how the area continues to evolve. Towns are popping up all over the place and because of this more land is being used than ever before. The ground that they are building their lives on quickly began to die and became extremely unhealthy for any type of growth. This has made headlines everywhere and even caught the attention of the United Nations. In 1994, the United Nations declared that June 17th would be known as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought . This was a result of the large-scale droughts and famines that had been taking place and were at their height between 1968 and 1974. 

Government Involvement

The desertification of the Sahel region became international news. With the involvement of the United Nations, people everywhere were brainstorming to find solutions for these devastating droughts. It was found out that not only was the growing population affecting the droughts but it was the lack of government involvement that was also making space for poor decisions to be made. Regulating policies were almost non-existent, making the exploitation of the land in the Sahel region easy. It was a desire to economically maximize the returns on the land that led to plans that only served the region for a very short amount of time. 


A World Effort 

Ecologists have been meeting all over the world to discuss the desertification of the Sahel at length. While many possible solutions have been proposed, a few goals have been established and are being worked on. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has not become involved and is working to create a long-lasting impact on the Sahel Region. The goal is to see change take place by 2063, a year that seems far away but is a start in the efforts to rebuild the Sahel Region. 

 

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