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   Sahel Workshop Background





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Final Report



The Sahel region of Africa is an ecosystem that readily responds to climatic variability and human exploitation of biospheric resources. By definition it is the transition zone between the wet tropical environment to the south and the Sahara desert to the north. Fluctuations in rainfall over this region from year to year affect livelihoods of inhabitants of the region. Over the long-term, a systematic decrease in rainfall may have caused in changes in land use patterns. While there has been a tendency to refer to the desertification of the Sahel, results from analysis of different types of satellite and ground data have not yielded conclusive evidence of region-wide documented desertification.

Since the early 1980s satellite mapping of the global land biosphere has generated long time series measurement of vegetation that can be used as a proxy for understanding the dynamics of variability of the Sahel. A number of studies have shown the close coupling between rainfall and primary production in the Sahel. At present this database of satellite observations represent one of the most useful environmental data bases for evaluating changes over this region. It is therefore necessary at this time to bring together scientists who have conducted significant studies in this region to synthesize results of satellite mapping over the last 20 years, in addition to longer term instrumental records. Based upon these results, these scientists will produce a clear statement of the current state of scientific knowledge of changes in the Sahel.

Sahel Workshop Contact:

Stefanie Herrmann, ICRSE Workshop Secretariat
stefanie@email.arizona.edu -- (520) 626-8064 Voice -- (520) 621-3816 FAX

Food & Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations
United Nations Convention
to Combat Desertification
United Nations
Environment Programme

Email us at icrse@symposia.org
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