Extent and Severity of Wind Erosion in West and Central Africa uri icon


  • The West African Sahel (WAS) is the transition zone between the Sahara desert in the north of Africa and the more humid Sudanian zones in the south. Although diverse in many ways, the WAS countries have in common a fragile agricultural sector, brought about by poor soil, limited rainfall, frequent drought, and wind erosion that accelerates soil degradation and desertification, compounded by rapidly' growing populations. Erosive winds '"occur during twodistinct seasons. During the dry season (October- April) the region is invaded by strong northeasterly winds, known as harmattan, resulting in moderate wind erosion. The second and most important wind-erosion period is the early rainyseason (May-July), when rainfall comes with heavy thunderstorms . that move westward through the Sahel. Wind erosion can be controlled by soil cover, suchas a mulch of crop residue, soil roughening, and the reduction of wind speed by annual or perennial grass barriers, artificial barriers, strip cropping, andwindbreaks. Based on the strong relationship between the incidence of wind erosion and soil properties, it may be possible to map the incidence of potentialwind erosion in the West African Sahel, and hence tell farmers where ameliorative measures can be used to best advantage

publication date

  • 1997