Deforestation in Katsina State, Nigeria

Helen Bassey of Africa Talks Climate reports on deforestation and disappearing rivers in Katsina State, northern Nigeria.

Only a few years ago, the village of Yammama in Malumfashi, Katsina State was home to a rich forest. Local Fulani herdsmen and their cattle thrived in the shade this forest provided; the farmlands benefited from cattle manure as they grazed.

Recently the forest was bought and a large number of trees cut down for more farmland. The farm never thrived and the land has been left bare under the hot sun. Today, it is semi-arid land that does not yield enough for man and cattle. There is not enough vegetation for the grazing cattle to feed on. The Fulani herdsmen and their hungry cattle now have to move on in search of more lush pastures.

The moving herd travels across the now dry riverbed of the River Yammama. The river has gone, and with it much of the lush vegetation. It feels eerie following the course of the River Yammama along the sandy river bed. You imagine you can hear the waters returning, from the bend far ahead.

Older locals say it was a rich river, full of fish and crocodiles. They tell us about earning their living from fishing, swimming in the river and watching out for a particularly infamous large crocodile. But the young people have never seen the river.


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