WATER - Desertification in the SAHEL

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  • Drought and desertification in the Sahel
    • Sahel made up of MAURITANIA, SENEGAL, MALI, BURKINA FASO, NIGER, CHAD, SUDAN, ERIREA, EHTIOPIA.
    • actions of humans can make drought WORSE, but do not CAUSE it.
      • Over-abstraction of surface water from rivers and ponds, and of groundwater from aquifers (water-bearing permeable rock).
        • POPULATION GROWTH -  puts pressure on land to grow more food.
        • OVER-GRAZING - too many cattle destroy vegetation cover
        • OVER-CULTIVATION - Intense use of marginal land (no potential for profit) exhausts the soil (crops won't grow).
        • DEFOREST-ATION - roots no longer bind soil so erosion increases
    • Desertification
      • The process by which once-productive land gradually changes into a desert-like landscape. (Semi-arid land on the edges of deserts).
      • CAUSES: 1. Changing rainfall patterns (becoming less reliable) - drought may extend to several years.
        • 2. Vegetation cover becomes stressed and dies, leaving bare soil
          • 3. bare soil is eroded by wind and the occasional intense shower
            • 4. intense, short rainfall periods makes it difficult for soil to capture it.
    • situations have been made worse due to civil wars leading to purposeful destroying of livestock, crops and homes.

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