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Senegal's Great Green Wall combats desertification

"A 7,000 km barrier is being built along the footsteps of the Sahara to stop the desert expanding. The Great Green Wall project started in 2007 in Senegal, along with 10 countries in Africa to combat the effects of climate change. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Widou, deep in the Sahel."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world.  This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara.  The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification.  These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this "Green Wall" was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (the shorter, social media friendly version of this video is available here).


Tags: Africa, Senegal, development, environment, waterbiogeography, ecology, environment depend, physical, weather and climate, supranationalism, political ecology.

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, April 1, 2018 2:34 AM
This “Green Wall” was originally supposed to span the southern border of the Sahara from the east to west coast of Africa. It was made up of trees and elements of forests in order to prevent the desert from expanding and reducing the amount of land available for food production. This seems like it would be a great idea that would work well, but the plan has some flaws. In the early stages of building up the barrier, nomadic herders are supposed to be prohibited from using the land, as their cattle would destroy it. However, the system in place in Somolia sees only one soldier guarding hundreds of kilometers by himself. The nomadic people are often desperate for food, so they often try to break in and sometimes resort to violence. This is problematic because it defeats the purpose of the barrier in increasing the farm land. Many of the countries in along the “Green Wall” do not maintain it as well as they should and Nigeria actually abandoned the project all together. For this reason many ecologists believe the effort is a waste and the climate change can not be stopped. But the efforts of the Somalians has paid off. Crops such as grapefruit and watermelon have been grown in areas that would have been unsuitable for such crops a few years ago. Migratory European birds also settle in the area during the winter. Another benefit that comes from the Wall is that nomads are not forced to join terrorist organizations as their only sources for food, because farming is made easier in the Sahel. 
tyrone perry's curator insight, April 5, 2018 8:12 PM
The great green wall is a man made ecological wall from the Atlantic ocean thru 10 countries to the red sea.  This is to prevent the desert from expanding, but also it is protected from nomadic herders, and loss of food.  This project still has a long way to go but ha not been completely abandoned yet. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 3:12 PM
Although Senegal is one of the few countries in the Sahel to actually follow through on its promise of building its green wall, it may be fruitless in the long run. The expansion of desert regions seems relentless. However, what is most surprising is how rapidly the ecosystems have changed and the crops that can be grown there. Watermelon, grapefruit, and European migratory songbirds have all taken hold, drastically altering the agriculture and environment of the region. 
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The Geography of Sports Training

The Geography of Sports Training | Geography Education |
Botswana sprinter Amantle Montsho trains in Senegal, thousands of miles from home, in hopes of capturing her country’s first Olympic medal.


While some countries routinely get dozens of medals at each Olympiad, other countries (like Botswana) have never received a medal.  World-class training facilities are not available everywhere, and youth participation is some sports in non-existant.  What are some other factors that contribute to this uneven global patterns of world-class athletics?

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Sahel food crisis

Sahel food crisis | Geography Education |
The hunger crisis in the Sahel region of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad has been deepening since the start of this year.

The Sahel is a classic transition zone--a border that is not a sharp division, but a gradual shift from one region to the next.  This area has environmentally marginal lands, but is as population pressures continue, marginal lands need to sustain more people. 

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, March 26, 2014 7:25 PM

With an ongoing hunger crisis in the Sahel, areas such as Chad, Niger and Mali find it hard to make ends meet. These areas in the Sahel are not having the best of luck with their crops this year. Areas suffer from infestation of locusts, drought, and high food prices. Over 13 million people are affected and could suffer from hunger.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 22, 2014 7:41 PM

This map presents the struggles being faced by those living in the Sahel region during their major food crisis. The Sahel region is a transition zone separating Northern Africa from Central and Southern Africa by a dry, harsh landscape. Besides acting as just a physical divide, it also divides the Arabic and Islamic northern region from the southern and central regions and their differing religions and languages. While the Sahel region is historically very dry, droughts have become more and more common. The people living in the Sahel can no longer depend on the land for food and have turned to aid in order to stay alive. As an area of increased desertification, many are worried that climate change will make this region unlivable, thus uprooting different peoples and causing strife in other regions. 

Michael Mazo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 6:44 PM

The Sahel is a region that lies basically in the middle of Africa and extend from West to East. It represents the boarder between the desert and the savannah. Having a semi-arid climate this region is not the most ideal place for living conditions. This comes in part because Africa is so large that the transport of goods and travel is almost impossible without the use of motor vehicles and access to the coast. Taking this into account one might predict severe hunger in areas of the Sahel, especially those that lie in the middle. As the population continues to rise, the shortage of food continues to take a toll on the local communities. Aside from food, proper healthcare is also needed to prevent lethal diseases from spreading