, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 369–374 | Cite as

Paleo-environmental perspectives on the Sahel drought of 1968–73

  • Butzer K. W. 


A review of stream, dune and lake phenomena in several well-studied sectors of the Sahel indicates an informative record of repeated environmental change. Blowing sand encroached far into the now semi-arid savanna between approximately 20,000 and 12,500 years ago, which lakes had substatially greater volumes and rivers higher discharges between 9000 and 5000 years ago. But rapid change and high-amplitude variability have always been the rule. During the last 2500 years conditions fluctuated about the modern median, with strong short and medium-term oscillations. The Sahel drought after 1968 falls within the norm of at least 6 earlier, dry anomalies verfied since 1400 AD. Whether or not the coincidence of cumulative overgrazing and population pressure with severe drought has triggered a geomorphologic response that is unique in the record, can only be decided after much more systematic work has been carried out.


Lake Level Niger Delta Chad Basin Sand Field Informative Record 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Butzer K. W. 
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Geogr.The University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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