Comment: 21:42 - 23:02 (01:20)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 22. Wind, Dust and Deserts
Keywords: desert, desertification, Africa, Sahel, Sahara, semi-arid, rainfall, grazing, drought, plant, soil, cattle, "dust storm", dune, Ethiopia, Sudan, human
Our transcription: It remains to be seen whether the result of more recent and even more catastrophic desertification in Africa can ever be reversed.
This is the Sahel, a semi-arid region to the south of the Sahara Desert.
In the 1960's a series of abnormally rainy years encouraged farmers to expand their herds and grazing lands.
Then in the early 1970's there was a terrible drought.
The plant life of the region was virtually wiped out.
Some 40 percent of the cattle died.
By the 1980's continuing drought had completely denuded the soil, creating choking dust storms and migrating dune fields.
The desert was creeping into formerly verdant areas at an average rate of 10 to 15 meters a day, destroying the livelihoods of over 20 million people.
More than a hundred thousand starved to death.
The suffering was particularly acute in Ethiopia and the Sudan.
Geology School Keywords