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Climate Change in West Africa

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In a landscape of devastated mangroves along the banks of the Soungrougrou River in the Casamance region of Senegal, a fisherman pulls in a largely empty net. Drought caused by climate change has transformed the ecosystem into an inversed estuary, of which few exist in the world. When there are abundant rains, fresh water flushes the salt out of the waterways, but with the prolonged drought, inland salt levels have become more concentrated than at the mouth of the rivers where they reach the sea. The increased salinization of the ecosystem has degraded large swaths of West African mangrove forests with devastating consequences on fish stocks, wildlife and the livelihoods of local inhabitants. The biomass that mangrove forests harbor makes them excellent carbon sinks in the fight against global warming. According to a recent report by the UNEP, mangrove forests worldwide are being destroyed at a rate three to five times faster than global deforestation, making them one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Marsassoum, Senegal. 05/12/2015.
Copyright
Photo © J.B. Russell
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In a landscape of devastated mangroves along the banks of the Soungrougrou River in the Casamance region of Senegal, a fisherman pulls in a largely empty net. Drought caused by climate change has transformed the ecosystem into an inversed estuary, of which few exist in the world. When there are abundant rains, fresh water flushes the salt out of the waterways, but with the prolonged drought, inland salt levels have become more concentrated than at the mouth of the rivers where they reach the sea. The increased salinization of the ecosystem has degraded large swaths of West African mangrove forests with devastating consequences on fish stocks, wildlife and the livelihoods of local inhabitants. The biomass that mangrove forests harbor makes them excellent carbon sinks in the fight against global warming. According to a recent report by the UNEP, mangrove forests worldwide are being destroyed at a rate three to five times faster than global deforestation, making them one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet.  Marsassoum, Senegal. 05/12/2015.