Land Resource Stresses and Desertification in Africa

Vulnerability to desertification in Africa is assessed using the information on soils, climate, and the previously evaluated land resource stresses.

Desertification processes affect about 46% of Africa. The significance of this large area becomes evident when one considers that about 43% of the continent is characterized as extreme deserts (the desert margins represent the areas with very high vulnerability).

The study concludes that:

1. Under low-input systems, the potential productivity of the soils cannot be realized and further that stability of production will be difficult to achieve.
2. Desertification is rampant in much of the continent and will permanently destroy the agricultural production potential. Correcting the degradation effects will be more expensive and the low resilience characteristics of many of the soils suggests that high levels of productivity cannot be expected even after mitigation technologies are used.
3. Under current systems, most of the countries will be unsustainable and if desertification is not controlled, their ability to attain sustainability will be significantly reduced.

Read the report (website)


P.F. Reich S.T. Numbem R.A. Almaraz and H. Eswaran
United States Department of Agriculture
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