Desertification in the Sahelian and Sudanian zones of West Africa
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Desertification is defined as the sustained decline of the biological productivity of arid and semi-arid land. It is the result of pressures both human (increased population) and climatic (variable rainfall and long-term changes in climate). Three traditional production systems exist in the SSZ: agrosylvicultural, agrosylvopastoral, and sylvopastoral. Development activities have been tried in the past in the agriculture, livestock and forestry sectors. Strategies for better resource management depend on the balance between the rural population and the carrying capacity of the land. Such strategies include increasing research on production systems, training staff and farmers, reducing the population through child spacing and resettlement, increasing the stock of fuelwood, reforming land laws, and providing incentives for increased agricultural and forestry production.