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Land 2014, 3(3), 1075-1090;

The Re-Greening of the Sahel: Natural Cyclicity or Human-Induced Change?

Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, PO Box 30677, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Afrikaforschung (ZIAF), Institut für Physische Geographie, Goethe-Universität, Altenhöferallee 1, 60438 Frankfurt, Germany
Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK
CAP-PPAAO/WAAPP Burkina, 01 BP 6285 Ouagadougou 01, Burkina Faso
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 February 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 22 August 2014 / Published: 3 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Change Feedbacks with Climate)
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The Sahel has been the focus of scientific interest in environmental-human dynamics and interactions. The objective of the present study is to contribute to the recent debate on the re-greening of Sahel. The paper examines the dynamics of barren land in the Sahel of Burkina Faso through analysis of remotely-sensed and rainfall data from 1975–2011. Discussions with farmers and land management staff have helped to understand the anthropogenic efforts toward soil restoration to enable the subsistence farming agriculture. Results showed that area of barren land has been fluctuating during the study period with approximately 10-year cyclicity. Similarly, rainfall, both at national and local levels has followed the same trends. The trends of the area of barren land and rainfall variability suggest that when rainfall increases, the area of barren land decreases and barren land increases when rainfall decreases. This implies that rainfall is one of the main factors driving the change in area of barren land. In addition, humans have contributed positively and negatively to the change by restoring barren lands for agriculture using locally known techniques and by accelerating land degradation through intensive and inappropriate land use practices. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sahel; Burkina Faso; re-greening; land degradation; soil restoration Sahel; Burkina Faso; re-greening; land degradation; soil restoration

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ouedraogo, I.; Runge, J.; Eisenberg, J.; Barron, J.; Sawadogo-Kaboré, S. The Re-Greening of the Sahel: Natural Cyclicity or Human-Induced Change? Land 2014, 3, 1075-1090.

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