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Drought-tolerant species thrive despite returning rains in the Sahel

ScienceDaily (October 19, 2016)

Titre : Drought-tolerant species thrive despite returning rains in the Sahel

ScienceDaily (October 19, 2016)

Following the devastating droughts in the 70s and 80s in the Sahel region south of the Sahara desert, vegetation has now recovered. What surprise the researchers is that although it is now raining more and has become greener, it is particularly the more drought resistant species that thrive instead of the tree and shrub vegetation that has long been characteristic of the area. This is shown in a study from Stockholm University published in the journal Land Use Policy. The conclusion is that not only rain but also agriculture and human utilization of trees, bushes and land affect the plants recovering

The expected pattern is that a drier climate favours drought resistant species, and that a wetter climate makes it possible for species that require more rainfall to thrive. A new study, however, shows the opposite effect ; that a shift to more drought tolerant species is occurring, even though it’s raining more. This shows that the recent regreening of the Sahel region can not only be explained by the fact that it rains more, which until now has been the dominant explanation.
The study suggests that an understanding of how human use of the landscape interact with climate and ecosystem processes is important for organizations that want to develop strategies for climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and local development in one of the world’s poorest regions

Story Source  : Stockholm University

Annonce (ScienceDaily)

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