[MAURITANIA] Land Degradation and Good Practices in Mauritania

Published by Mr. Mohamed ALY EL HOR,
Ministre de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable
http://aicd-africa.org/archives/1423?ln=

I. INTRODUCTION OF MAURITANIA

II. CURRENT SITUATION OF WEATHER, LAND DEGRADATION, AND DESERTIFICATION IN MAURITANIA

Weather:

Mauritania is particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts and risks.
Climate is characterized by four seasons; a rainy season from June to September and summer from Match to May, Winter from October to Match and Spring the rest of year.

Land Degradation:

In Mauritania, most of the land is facing a strong degradation linked to:
◆ overgrazing that exceeds load capacities.
◆ Water erosion which causes stripping and gulling.
◆ Stalinization of agricultural land and especially rice paddies

Protection of dune by local species (Euphorbia balsamifera)

Two ways to fight against desertification:

The fighting against Desertification is a responsibility to all of Mauritania people.
Mauritania suffers from the problem of desertification. However, Mauritania has two ways to adapt desertification: Mechanical and Biological.

Mechanical technique of stabilization 1

1. Mechanical dune fixation
The initial phase in combating sand encroachment consists of halting or slowing the movement of sand by erecting fences 1 to 1.5 m high to cause a buildup of sand, leading to the formation of an artificial dune. The mechanical explanation for this process is that the fence slows down the flow of air, and this slowing down causes the air to release its load at this point. The fences may be woven (more expensive) or unwoven, and are usually made of branches and twigs from mature forest stands of suitable species, such as natural stands of Prosopis julifloraBalanites aegyptiaca and various acacias, but also of palm fronds or Leptadenia pyrotechnica or euphorbia stalks.

(From Fighting sand encroachment, Lessons from Mauritania, FAO Forestry Paper 158)

Mechanical technique of stabilization 2
Mechanical technique of stabilization 3

2. Biological dune fixation
After dunes have been mechanically stabilized, they can then be permanently fixed by planting trees and perennial vegetation

(From Fighting sand encroachment, Lessons from Mauritania, FAO Forestry Paper 158)

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.