Drought-tolerant species thrive despite returning rains in the Sahel

Drought-tolerant species thrive despite returning rains in the Sahel.
Following the devastating droughts in the 70s and 80s in the Sahel region south of the Sahara desert, vegetation has now recovered.
What surprise the researchers is that although it is now raining more and has become greener, it is particularly the more drought resistant species that thrive instead of the tree and shrub vegetation that has long been characteristic of the area.
This shows that the recent regreening of the Sahel region can not only be explained by the fact that it rains more, which until now has been the dominant explanation.
By, for example, examining what people in the area use different trees and shrubs for and look at how the landscape changes, we can better understand how land use, social change, climate and ecosystems interact, even in ways that can be unexpected," says Lowe Börjeson, Associate Professor at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University.
The study suggests that an understanding of how human use of the landscape interact with climate and ecosystem processes is important for organizations that want to develop strategies for climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and local development in one of the world’s poorest regions.
The Sahel extends east from the Atlantic Ocean through northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Niger, northeastern Nigeria, Chad and the Sudan.
The recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s had disastrous consequences for agriculture, livestock and the environment in the area, with widespread ​​famine as a result.
The drought in the region also gave rise to a global discussion and concern for desertification as an emerging environmental problem.
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