The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south. It stretches across the north of the African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.
The Arabic word sāḥil ساحل literally means "shore, coast", describing the appearance of the vegetation of the Sahel as a coastline delimiting the sand of the Sahara.
The Sahel covers most parts of the territory of (from west to east)
- southern Mauritania
- Burkina Faso
- southern Algeria
- northern Nigeria
- northern Cameroon
- Sudan (including Darfur but not South Sudan), and
(sourced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahel)
The region is at risk of desertification. Over-farming, over-grazing, and over-population of marginal lands and natural soil erosion have caused serious desertification of the region.
Major dust storms are a frequent occurrence, as well. During November 2004, a number of major dust storms hit the Chad, Nigeria, and northern Cameroon, originating in the Bodélé Depression. This is a common area for dust storms (occurring, on average, 100 days every year).
iN August 2008, heavy dust storms passed over the eastern plains of Somalia and the northeast of a still drought-hit Kenya. In March 2010, a major sandstorm hit Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, and inland Sierra Leone. Another struck in southern Algeria, inland Mauritania, Mali, and northern Côte d’Ivoire at the same time.