Sunday, 5 September 2010
The Sahel is a narrow belt of land in North Africa. It borders the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The Sahel has a semi-desert climate. Temperatures are always hot and there is a long dry season from June through to January. There is just enough rainfall for grasses to grow as well as some shrubs and trees.
The vegetation of grasses with some trees is called savanna. It is adapted to the hot temperatures and the drought during the dry season. A common tree in the Sahel is the Baobab or upside-down tree. It has a swollen trunk where it stores water to help it survive the drought. Leaves and branches are small to reduce water loss through evapo-transpiration. Some of the vegetation has very long tap roots to reach down to underground stores of water.
The savannas are the home of herds of large animals that graze on the grasses. People who live in the savannas are usually nomads who wander the land with their herds of cattle looking for the best grazing land.