Desertification in Sahel
«The whole world is slowly becoming a desert. That is why everyone should be concerned about what is happening here. This is the future.»
Professor Diallo, coordinator of food security at the Institute of Sahel in Bamako.
Since the 1960’s, the Sahel (the semi-arid land below the Sahara that stretches from Senegal to Eritrea) has experienced a devastating drought and its population has exploded, compounding the demand for firewood, the main source of cooking fuel. The deforestation, in return, has impoverished the land and accelerated the process. Desertification is proceeding at a faster rate than perhaps any other time in recorded history, with disastrous implications for the biodiversity and the existence of 1.5 billion people in more than 100 countries.
According to the United Nations Environment Program, 19 million square miles of the world’s land surface are becoming desert or are threatened with desertification. What is happening in the Sahel is a frightening model, an advanced case of what much of the earth's land surface could become.