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Population growth far outpaces food supply’ in conflict-ravaged Sahel

October 30, 2014 • Daily Email Recap

Population growth far outpaces food supply’ in conflict-ravaged Sahel
Researchers say conflict and climate change mean the region’s resources will be unable to sustain the increasing population

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The Sahel’s ability to produce food is not keeping pace with its growing population, and global warming will only exacerbate the imbalance, according to a new study.


Among the 22 countries making up the arid region in northern Africa, the population grew to 471 million in 2010 from 367 million in 2000, a jump of nearly 30%. As the population grew rapidly, the production of crops remained essentially unchanged, said researchers from Lund University in Sweden.


Using satellite images to calculate annual crop production in the conflict-riddenSahel belt, south of the Sahara desert, the researchers then compared output with population growth and food and fuel consumption. Their findings showed the region’s resources would not be enough to sustain the population if trends continue.


In 2000, the Sahel’s population consumed the equivalent, in food and fuel, of 19% of the carbon available from the landscape. That jumped to 41% in 2010, reported the study titled The Supply and Demand of Net Primary Production in the Sahel, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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