Thursday, August 07, 2014

Word of the Day -- Sahel

The Sahel spans 5,400 km (3,360 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east, in a belt that varies from several hundred to a thousand kilometers (620 miles) in width, covering an area of 3,053,200 square kilometers (1,178,850 sq mi). It is a transitional ecoregion of semi-arid

grasslands, savannas, steppes, and thorn shrublands lying between the wooded Sudanian savanna to the south and the Sahara to the north.
The topography of the Sahel is mainly flat, and the region mostly lies between 200 and 400 meters (660 and 1,310 ft) in elevation. Several isolated plateaus and mountain ranges rise from the Sahel, but are designated as separate ecoregions because their flora and fauna are distinct from the surrounding lowlands. Annual rainfall varies from around 100 mm (4 in)-200 mm (8 in), in the north of the Sahel, to around 600 mm (24 in) in the south.

Over the history of Africa, the region has been home to some of the most advanced kingdoms, benefiting from trade across the desert. Collectively, these states are known as the Sahelian kingdoms.

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