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Science et changements planétaires / Sécheresse

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Bois-énergie, déboisement et sécheresse au Sahel : le cas du Gourma malien Volume 7, issue 3, Septembre 1996

Author
Centre pour le Développement et l’Environnement, Université d’Oslo, BP 1116 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norvège
  • Page(s) : 179-85
  • Published in: 1996

Local fuelwood consumption is commonly seen to be an important cause of deforestation in the Sahel, and generally throughout Africa, but this has not yet been scientifically confirmed. The Gourma region of Mali was chosen to assess this hypothesis, as it is considered to be seriously affected by deforestation due to domestic fuel-wood consumption. Changes in the density of woody vegetation at certain sites in Gourma were first quantified. The results indicated that the observed deforestation was basically caused by a decline in rainfall over the study period. The human impact on woody vegetation, through fuelwood consumption, was also assessed. This second study highlighted that local inhabitants collect and consume only dead wood for cooking purposes. However, people are obliged to cover greater distances during their wood collecting activities, thus requiring more time. In addition, they have to spend more of their limited incomes to purchase fuel-wood. These data show that the above-mentioned hypothesis is invalid for the area and period studied. Comparative studies could clarify whether this is a special or representative case under Sahelian conditions.