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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

 | 
Benjamin Sultan
, 
Richard Lalou
, 
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
, 
et al.

Part II. Impacts of the climate and environmental changes

Introduction

Laurent Kergoat

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The first part of this book sheds new light on climate variability in West Africa and more particularly in the Sahel. ‘The most severe multidecadal drought of the planet’ is always the one remembered best, and for very good reasons. This observation still h olds. However, we know that the precipitations of the past decade display a decreasing deficit although this is not the case every year. There are still drought years although they are not as dominant as in 1970-1980. A change in the regime of strongest rainfall is now taking shape. This is accompanied by a spectacular increase in the temperature at 2 metres during the hottest periods of the year—just before and after the rainy season.

This climate variability over relatively long periods has very marked consequences. Indeed, most agricultural production involving both crop and livestock depends on precipitation. In addition, as the populations in practically all Sahelian regions are closely dependent on water resources such as su...

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