The Sahara is an inhospitable place since its one of the driest and hottest places on earth, it covers an area larger than the USA yet it has one of the lowest population densities with roughly 1 person per square mile. Approximately 25 percent of the Sahara’s surface is covered by sand sheets and dunes. Other geographical features include, salt flats, gravel planes and plateaus.
There are numerous rivers that originate outside of the Sahara but then enter the Sahara through underground waterways or by contributing to sources of surface water such as an oasis. This allows for hardy plants, animals and people to survive in this region, particularly in the Sahel where there are a further 44 million inhabitants. The Sahel literally means the Shoreline where the desert in the north transitions between the humid savannas to the south.
During the dry season, this region becomes extremely arid and barren, however in the wet season, the desert blooms, allowing for people to be able grow crops and feed their livestock, these seasonal changes were regular and predictable for centuries however since the 1950s there has been a 30% decrease in rainfall which reached record lows during the droughts of the 1970s and 80s ever since droughts have become more frequent.
This land loss has been the main driver of many other problems such as hunger, poverty, unemployment, forced migration, conflict and an increased risk of extreme weather events related to climate change.
Restoring degraded land back to productive good health is a huge opportunity. It brings big social and economic benefits to rural farming communities. This is why the country NIGER, with 80% of its territory in the Sahara desert has been making some astonishing Agriculture developments turning large areas suffering from desertification into agricultural fields.
They have been using innovative water harvesting techniques allowing them to restore over 200 million trees over 5 million hectares of land benefiting over 2.5 million people.
This transformation can be called a major accomplishment for a country especially when a country only receives an average of 6.5 inch of rainfall a year.
In today’s video we are going to tell you how and why NIGER is turning its deserts into huge farmlands.
Also check out our story on The Man who Stopped the Desert:
• How One Man Turne…