(pp.033-046) N. M. Gadzama and H. Ayuba ‘Efforts in desertification control in the Sahel of Nigeria’, World Sustainable Development Outlook, 2015
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to show the extent of desertification and land degradation as threat to sustainable environmental, agricultural and land development in the Sahel of Nigeria with its consequences on the livelihoods of the people.
Design/methodology/approach: Several desertification attenuation projects in Nigeria employing different methods for maximum benefits obtainable from the objective of the particular project. Specific methods, including satellite studies, have been used. It is noted that environmental impact assessment or community reconnaissance and needs assessments were part of all the project activities.
Findings: Desertification has reached an alarming state in Nigeria. The frontline desert threatened States constitute 40% of the land mass of the country. With desertification process exacerbated by a period of prolonged drought of about 20 years, climate change and human activities, it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain sustainability in the management of the fragile lands and the region’s ecosystem. Strategic interventions in combating desertification in Nigeria have attenuated detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts on the affected communities resulting in increased agricultural yields. Programmes and projects have strengthened the resilience of the people, participating in sand dune stabilisation, Great Green Wall Sahara Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) and shelterbelts development. Government has sustained inputs in environmentally friendly agriculture and also encouraged synergetic collaborative activities with national agencies, international agencies and national institutions.
Originality/value: These results/activities give evidence to the increased public awareness of environmental degradation due to desertification in Nigeria; the realisation in environmental stabilisation needs with ready participation of the communities for improved livelihoods in arid agriculture; resulting in internationalising these problems for Nigeria.
Keywords: Desertification in Sahel of Nigeria; Drought; Climate change; Fragile ecosystem; Deforestation; Environmental impact assessment; Reconnaissance; Environmentally friendly agriculture; Ecosystem management; Community resilience; Shelterbelt; Sustainable management; Synergetic collaboration