Desertification in Niger
World Regional Geography
Desertification in Niger is a very progressive threat that is affecting not only the nation but also other neighboring regions along the Sahel. The Director of the National Department of the Environment in Niger said at the Direct Seeding seminar in Zinder that 250,000 hectares (roughly 618 acres) are being lost each year in Niger through desertification (Eden et al, 1994). Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas due to various factors: including climatic variations and human activities. Niger is one of the driest places in the world. The precipitation averages about 29 inches in the south and 8 inches in the north and the rainy season only lasts from June to October. In 2010, a monsoon hit Niger and even though you would think it could have helped, it didn’t. The monsoon caused mass erosion and destroyed many crops. This is just one of the many issues that Niger is trying to fight. Besides rain, high temperatures can run from 81-106 degrees during the rainy season, making it even more difficult for agriculture to survive. On top of that, the Sahara desert can produce winds that reach up to 70 M.P.H.; these winds are called the Sirocco Winds. The Sirocco Winds will take sand from the desert and blow it into the farmlands, causing more devastation. Farmers that try to grow crops in these conditions typically don’t fight them for too long and eventually will abandon the land. When the farmers do stick around, the farming techniques they use eat up all the nutrients in the ground and don’t allow the fields to regenerate. Basically, the farmers are allowing the desert to win and for desertification to progress even faster. Man can either destroy his environment or be constructive by solving problems that occur within it (Eden et al, 1994). So what can Niger do to help this ongoing problem? Niger has accepted the help of the Eden Project, which...
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