5. Impact of desertification

    Continued degradation of soil negatively affects the ability of Sahelian farmers to grow crops, results in less grazing land for livestock, and can have considerable impacts for people that live not only, but near, the degraded areas.  Degradation of the soil is caused in part by over usage driven by the expansion of land being used for farming, overgrazing, and precipitation patterns.  As discussed in section one the natural and human induced causes reinforce each other.  Although farmers in the Sahel can’t control rain patterns they could mitigate some of the erosion by not clearing the surface vegetation until after the strong winds and heavy downpours characteristic of the first storms of the growing season (Kandji et all 5-6).  Mitigation and prevention will be the topic of the final section of this paper. Mismanagement of the soil, which is naturally vulnerable due to low carbon and nutrients for plants, in the Sahel region can have sever consequences on the wellbeing of human population and the environment (Kandji et all, 2009).  Later in the paper referenced above the authors state:

“climate change may have negative consequences on agricultural production and food security in the Sahel region. Arid conditions are likely to be exacerbated even in places where an increase in precipitation is predicted because of a higher evapotranspiration regime due to higher temperatures” (Kandji et all 2009).  

It seems clear that weather the result of a natural process, human activity or both desertification or land degradation in the Sahel has serious consequences for human populations in and around the Sahel.  In the following slides I will show the impacts desertification.  These impacts include the soil’s decreased productivity, decreased livestock populations due to less grazing land.  I will explain how the decrease in livestock and agricultural capacity affect the economies of the affected countries.  I will also discuss a variety of side effects for the people that live near the area where soil is being over used.