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The City Of Timbuktu Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1847 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The city of Timbuktu is located in the African nation of Mali, near the Niger River. It is small trading town in central Mali and the Tombaugh Cato its official name. It was one of the richest commercial cities in Africa and a center of Islamic learning in the third and sixteenth centuries. It is population 20.483 inhabitants. This name comes from the language spoken by the Tuareg nomads who life in it. It was well known to Arabs and other traders when it served as a hub of culture and commerce during the 14th and 15th centuries

Timbuktu is also home to several famous mosques, including Sankore, Djingareyber, and Sidi Yahya, all of which are made from the distinctive mud which characterizes buildings in Timbuktu. Due to desertification and related issues, Timbuktu is a very difficult city to live in it. [1]

The objective of this research is to review the literature as it pertains to desertification, to define the current status of desertification, to document that designed to reverse the negative effects of desertification, and to analyze effect of desertification as well as their consequences.

Review of Desertification [2]

Desertification is a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry land region becomes increasingly arid, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife. Desertification is known as “Desert encroachment”. Any drought on agricultural land or cultivable, and converted into barren land and is caused by long drought on the one hand, and human activity on the other. And desertification phenomenon is also known as: turning wide range of fertile areas and high production to poor areas of vegetable and animal for many reasons.

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Desertification has four types in term of dangerous the United Nations designated it. First, very severe desertification: a shift of land to a non-productive state completely. This can be reclaimed by expensive costs and only limited spaces and in many cases, the agricultural reform process becomes totally unproductive. There are many examples such as Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Somalia. Second, Desertification: when spreading of unwanted plants, and there is a decline of good vegetable production up to 50%, like land in the east and north-west of the delta in Egypt. Third, Moderate desertification: where good vegetable production declines. It causes salinization of the soil, which reduces production by 10-15%, and up to 25% such as Egypt. Fourth, slight desertification: when damage occurs or destruction very simple in vegetation and soil which can be negligible as in Saharan desert of the Arabian island.

Desertification has a many reasons where causes or factors are divided into two categories: natural and human.

Natural factors: climate, drought, quicksand, the high soil salinity and soil creep.

Human factors: such as over grazing, poor irrigation methods, deforestation, creeping urbanization and pollution.

We can overcome desertification in many ways, such as: sand dune stabilization, increase the area of agricultural land, the enactment of laws that prevent harvesting, water pollution prevention and the introduction of new crops more suited to the environmental conditions.

Desertification in Timbuktu [3]

Where it came from the sand on the vegetation that surrounded the city, the river and bridge branch with a length of about 7 km which connects the city by the main reaches of the River Niger that facilitates the transfer of goods to the city by river navigation. Although the exploitation of the financial government’s reputation historic wide of the city in bringing Western tourists, ((the share of infrastructure projects is negligible)), which impact on tourism in the city itself, this as well as the resulting manifestations of poverty and misery, despite this bleak picture but Timbuktu seem always tall and a source of pride and pleasure if we look at the reality of cultural, as it is one of the few regions in the world that has maintained the kind of cultural Alkuzmosa, where managed city smelting several cultures in one pot, to make them their culture which rarely found elsewhere.

The rolled on the Timbuktu region several crises of drought between the years 1970 – 1997, because of “desertification” which “overgrazing” was the most important causes of it. Where the region’s population depends on livestock grazing in large numbers may increase the need for per household because it is the main source of livelihood. Also because of negligence or lack of awareness of the importance of other fileds such as agriculture and others. In addition to other influences such as global warming and the burning of fossil fuels which was and still have devastating effects on the environment of the region.

Programs designed to reverse the negative effects of Desertification in Timbuktu

These are a few of the relevant measures.

Investment program and rural areas in northern Mali[4]

The program aims to reduce rural poverty in the regions of Timbuktu and Gao restoring social networks and creating the conditions necessary to support economic activity. It operates the hydro-agricultural potential of the Niger River. The interventions under the program are concentrated in 14 municipalities along the Niger River and five common pastoral concern devices and small farmers, pastoralists, rural women, youth and marginalized social groups.

The program aims to:

Strengthen the capacity of local organizations and institutions to express their collective needs and to create and manage their investments.

Develop the potential of agro-pastoral zone in a sustainable manner.

Improve access to basic services through the development of community health centers.

Contribute to the development of national policies to fight against rural poverty.

Promote policy dialogue to promote the interests of local rural communities.

• United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification [5] [6]

 In those countries experiencing serious drought and / or desertification, particularly in Africa, the Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that include long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements. This Convention is the only agreement that has been drawn from the direct recommendation of the Conference Agenda 21, adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and entered into force in December 1996.

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The agreement is the first and only carry an international, legally binding and to put to address the problem of desertification. The Convention on the principles of partnership, participation and decentralization – the backbone of good governance, sustainable development and the Convention has now 194 countries member making them bear recipe World to help in promoting the Convention announced in 2006 the “International Year of Deserts and Desertification”, but discussions broke on the effectiveness of the International Year on a practical level.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations[7]

Desertification like ‘illness Earth’ which seriously affects vegetation of land cultivated with crops, as well as pasture and forest areas. Also have negative effects on the phenomenon of biodiversity and soil fertility and the hydrological cycle of water resources and crop yields, in addition to the production of livestock.

t should be noted that the Food and Agriculture Organization supports and supports a number of countries in the world in the implementation of its country programs to combat desertification, and those countries are: Mali, Senegal, Turkey, Chile, Cuba, Yemen, Lebanon, and Cambodia. As the organization pays special attention to dry areas and through its Special Programme for Food Security.

In Africa, seeking Food and Agriculture Organization to strengthen its cooperation with UNESCO and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel region, in response to desertification in the Sahel and West Africa, has coordinated an initiative of the United Nations on the Horn of Africa, which includes the countries most affected by desertification.

Effects of Desertification on the Mosques of Timbuktu [8]

There are three great mosques, Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, recall Timbuktu’s golden age. Although these monuments are continuously restored, current desertification enhances desert encroachment and sand storms: the site is under threat. The satellite image shows the landscape surrounding Timbuktu, composed mainly of sand and desert.

The temperature increased by 1.4°C in that area and the impact of the drought was remarkable between 1901 and 1996. Research has shown that in the future region will face a decline in average rainfall, and an increase in the temperature and that will surely enhance the encroachment of the desert and sand blown damage in Timbuktu.

Consequences of Desertification for Timbuktu

Desertification has huge economic consequences – the World Bank estimates that at the global level, the annual income foregone in the areas affected by desertification amounts to US$ 42 billion each year, while the annual cost of fighting land degradation would cost only US$ 2.4 billion a year. In all, more than 110 countries have dry lands that are potentially threatened by desertification. [9]Africa, Asia and Latin America are the most threatened by desertification. There are several things to do to reverse the negative consequences of desertification[10]

Restore and fertilize the land: A simple and cheap way to fertilize the land is to prepare compost that will become humus and will regenerate the soil with organic matter.

Reforestation: trees play several roles: they help fix the soil, act as wind breakers, enhance soil fertility, and help absorb water during heavy rainfall.

Develop sustainable agricultural practices.

Traditional lifestyles: as practiced in many arid zones offer examples of harmonious living with the environment.

Combat the effects of the wind: By constructing barriers and stabilising sand dunes with local plant species.

Developing education and training: It is important that every individual has access to information and understands the action proposals communicated by the media and literature. Reading and writing skills provide people the opportunity to become better informed and help them understand and organize projects that combat desertification. Education therefore enables them to share knowledge and better manage the available resources.

Mandating environmental priority.

Relieving pressure on forest.

Investing more external aid in rural.

Strengthening institutions.


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