Climate variability and environmental stress in the Sudan-Sahel zone of West Africa

Mertz Ole, D'Haen Sarah, Maiga Abdou Yéhiya, Bouzou Moussa Ibrahim, Barbier Bruno, Diouf Awa, Diallo Drissa, Dapola Da Evariste, Dabi Daniel. 2012. Climate variability and environmental stress in the Sudan-Sahel zone of West Africa. Ambio, 41 (4) : pp. 380-392.

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Liste HCERES des revues (en SHS) : oui

Thème(s) HCERES des revues (en SHS) : Economie-gestion; Géographie-Aménagement-Urbanisme-Architecture

Abstract : Environmental change in the Sudan-Sahel region of West Africa (SSWA) has been much debated since the droughts of the 1970s. In this article we assess climate variability and environmental stress in the region. Households in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria were asked about climatic changes and their perceptions were compared across north-south and west-east rainfall gradients. More than 80% of all households found that rainfall had decreased, especially in the wettest areas. Increases in wind speeds and temperature were perceived by an overall 60-80% of households. Contrary to household perceptions, observed rainfall patterns showed an increasing trend over the past 20 years. However, August rainfall declined, and could therefore potentially explain the contrasting negative household perceptions of rainfall trends. Most households reported degradation of soils, water resources, vegetation, and fauna, but more so in the 500-900 mm zones. Adaptation measures to counter environmental degradation included use of manure, reforestation, soil and water conservation, and protection of fauna and vegetation. The results raise concerns for future environmental management in the region, especially in the 500-900 mm zones and the western part of SSWA. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Changement climatique, Ménage, Perceptions, Conditions météorologiques, Température, Précipitation, Vent, Gestion de l'environnement, Impact sur l'environnement, Adaptation, adaptation aux changements climatiques

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Zone soudano-sahélienne, Sénégal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigéria

Classification Agris : P40 - Meteorology and climatology
P01 - Nature conservation and land resources

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2005-2013) - Agriculture, environnement, nature et sociétés

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Mertz Ole, University of Copenhague (DNK)
  • D'Haen Sarah, UCL (BEL)
  • Maiga Abdou Yéhiya, Université de Montréal (CAN)
  • Bouzou Moussa Ibrahim, Université Abdou Moumouni (NER)
  • Barbier Bruno, CIRAD-ES-UMR G-EAU (BFA) ORCID: 0000-0002-9196-7051
  • Diouf Awa, UCAD (SEN)
  • Diallo Drissa, Université de Bamako (MLI)
  • Dapola Da Evariste, Université de Ouagadougou (BFA)
  • Dabi Daniel, University of Jos (NGA)

Source : Cirad - Agritrop (

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