AGRICULTURAL ARCHITECTURE: Acacia trees are planted around the perimeter. Inside and against the prevailing winds more trees are planted in rows, then perennial and annual crops are planted in the alleys.
Life in Africa's Sahel region is precarious. Summer temperatures
often reach 116 degrees in this ecozone that stretches from the Atlantic
to Africa's Horn, between the Sahara desert and the savannas. Most
soils are degraded from mismanagement. There is little biodiversity
because farmers consider trees to be weeds and chop them down. Annual
crops like sorghum and millet limp their way toward a meager harvest.
When the rains don't come at all, famine does, and foreign aid workers
appear with sacks of Nebraska wheat, while farmers watch the dunes
encroach on their fields.
Now climate experts are predicting even
drier conditions and increased temperatures in the Sahel, as well as
increased climatic variability in the form of droughts and floods.
Annual sorghum yield may decrease 15 percent by 2030. On top of all this
are the pressures of population growth, adding up to a humanitarian
crisis that will continue unabated for decades.