Desertification on the Sanaag plateau in northern Somalia


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Desertification is a reality in Somalia. These photos were taken near the villages of Bahdan and Hadaaftimo on the Sanaag plateau in northern Somalia in August 2004. Less than ten years ago this area was valuable grazing land, now it is all but destroyed. Pastoral experts at the NGO Horn Relief believe that the area can be rehabilitated through a combination of replanting trees to control wind erosion, controlling grazing and constructing small rock dams to control water erosion. All of this will take capital which Somalia does not have.


In the meantime we need to reduce the incentives which lead to the indiscriminate felling of trees i.e. the money to made from the charcoal trade. We can reduce the demand for charcoal by using solar cookers. Users like the type of cookers sold by Sun Fire Cooking. A household can pay for a solar cooker in less than one year through the reduced purchase of charcoal. This is a win win situation for the household and the Somali environment.


Please see the five pictures below of the encroaching desert. Help us combat it by encouraging the use of solar cookers.



Above: A few small trees remain, the sand is encroaching.



Above: Near Bahdan village. Little grazing remains.



Above: Bahdan village




Above: A sandstorm near Hadaaftimo. Less than 10 years ago this was productive grazing land.




Above: Driving through a sandstorm. Ten years ago this was a sea of grass.

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