The Sahel


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The Sahel

  1. 1. The Sahel By Seth Paterson
  2. 2. Location <ul><li>between the Sahara Desert and the Savanna Belt (a.k.a The Sudan) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Geography <ul><li>runs 2,400 miles from Atlantic Ocean to Red Sea (west to east) </li></ul><ul><li>covers a total area of 1,178, 800 square miles </li></ul><ul><li>Includes Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea </li></ul>
  4. 4. Topography <ul><li>mainly flat, mostly lies between 200 and 400 meters in elevation </li></ul><ul><li>there are several plateus and mountain ranges in the Sahel, but they are considered seperate ecoregions from the Sahel </li></ul>
  5. 5. Terrain <ul><li>It is made up of grasslands, savannas, and thorn shrubland </li></ul><ul><li>Acacia trees are very common </li></ul>
  6. 6. Wildlife <ul><li>formerly home to grazing mammals, like the Scimitar-horned Oryx, Dama Gazelle, and Bubal Hartebeest </li></ul><ul><li>the number of larger species has been greatly reduced due to over-hunting and competition with livestock </li></ul><ul><li>there are several endangered species, such as the Dama Gazelle, African Wild Dog, cheetah, and lion </li></ul><ul><li>The Scimitar-horned Oryx is now extinct in the wild, along with the Bubal Hartebeest </li></ul>
  7. 7. Agriculture <ul><li>Around 5000 BCE, the first instances of plant being domesticated or agricultural purposes took place (plants were utilized more effectively) </li></ul><ul><li>But, in 4000 BCE, the climate of he Sahara and the Sahel became drier at a very fast pace, causing rivers to shrink and increased desertification </li></ul><ul><li>This decreased the amount of settlements in the area due to the unappealing climate and unbountiful land </li></ul>
  8. 8. History of Life <ul><li>Most of the people in the Sahel have been semi-nomads, farming and raising livestock </li></ul><ul><li>There was a lot of conflict between traditional nomadic herders over who could settle on the few fertile areas </li></ul>
  9. 9. Sahelian Kingdoms <ul><li>A series of empires based in the Sahel </li></ul><ul><li>The first large Sahelian Kingdoms emerged after 750, and supported several large trading cities in the Niger Bend region (i.e. Timbuktu, Gao, and Djenné) </li></ul><ul><li>Their wealth came from controlling the Trans-Saharan trade routes across the desert </li></ul><ul><li>Power came from having large pack animals like camels and horses that were fast enough to keep the empire under central control and were useful in battle </li></ul><ul><li>They were limited from expanding south into forest zone because the warriors were useless in the forest and the camels and horses could not survive the heat and disease of the region </li></ul>
  10. 10. Droughts <ul><li>There was a major drought in 1914, caused by low annual rainfalls-it caused a large scale famine </li></ul><ul><li>In the 1960’s the rainfall increased, making the Northern drier region more plentiful-this resulted in a push by the governments for people to move northwards </li></ul><ul><li>Because of the long scale drought peiod from 1968 through 1974, the grazing became out of control, and the land became barren </li></ul><ul><li>This also led to a large-scale famine, but it was downscaled to the international view-this catastrophe led to the founding of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Conclusion <ul><li>The Sahel is a transitional area between desert and a tropical climate </li></ul><ul><li>Due to the many droughts, the Sahel has become a medley of ecosystems and types of habitats, but the ecosystems deteriorate more quickly than they are built due to the climate </li></ul>
  12. 12. Bibliography <ul><li>Reader, John Africa: A Biography of the Continent pg. 177-179 Published:New York, Alfred A. Knopf accessed February 10, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li> “The Sahel” published February 10, 2009 accessed February 11, 2009 </li></ul>