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Case study- land degradation in Nara, Mali
Desertification can be traced back to a severe drought between 1969-1973
There are 2 socio-economic groups in Nara- agro- pastoralists such as the
Sarakole who are sedentary. They grow crops and keep cattle, goats etc.
They rely on direct rainfall. The 2nd group are nomadic pastoralists such as
the Fulani. They continually move livestock in search of food and water.
Nara is a semi arid region of landlocked Mali which is ranked as 175th out
of 178 for the HDI
High costs of food (due to scarcity) have led to famine
Years of lots of rain in 2003-4 triggered plagues of desert locusts which
Natural vegetation is grass and woody scrub
Causes of desertification
Population growth led to more people collecting firewood much of it from
living trees and shrubs.
Forest fires of anthropogenic origin added to desertification and wind
To meet demands of rising population, agro-pastoralists extended
cultivation into marginal areas at the expense of woodland
To meet the demands of rising population both agro-pastoralists and nomads
increased their herds and flocks
Population growth has increased demand for food, animal feed and firewood.
There is little tradition of managing pastureland and overgrazing occurred
Salinisation of ground water has occurred due to recurrent droughts
Mean annual rainfall is 378mm and potential evapotranspiration is 4-5
There are no permanent rivers
Rainfall is seasonal- wet season between June- October rest of year is dry.
Rainfall can still be unpredictable.
Since the drought of 1969-1973 rainfall has decreased by 30%.
Consequences of desertification
Conflicts between farmers competing for land
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Pastoralists have less by-products (butter and cheese)
Pastoralists are forced to sell livestock for lower prices
Livestock have less milk and fewer offspring
Overgrazing has reduced plant and animal biodiversity
Desertification has increased incidence of poverty and famine
Wildlife has all but disappeared (rabbits and antelopes used to be a good
source of food for people)…read more