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# 76: Agroforestry Practices in Combating Desertification

The United Nations (UN) has designated 2006 as the Year of Desertification, marking ten years since the UN Convention to Combat Desertification came into force.

Poverty is a main contributor to environmental degradation. Two-thirds of African lands are vulnerable to desertification and over 70% of African agricultural drylands are already degraded, making Africa the continent most severely affected by desertification.

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# 75: Forecasting Environmental Change

Through years of practiced observation farmers have developed traditional ways to forecast environmental changes. By using indicators such as the flowering time of certain trees, the direction and speed of the winds, and even insect behaviour, farmers monitor and predict changes in their surroundings. These types of ‘grassroots indicators’ are often an informal early warning system for drought and desertification.

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# 74: Agroforestry in Africa

Agroforestry is the system of growing trees in combination with other farm enterprises such as crops and livestock. Trees provide farmers with many products and services that can bring much needed income to rural families and ensure food and nutritional security especially in drought periods.

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# 73: HIV/AIDS and Food Security

The impact of HIV and AIDS on food production and rural households in sub-Saharan Africa is undeniable. AIDS generally hits people in their most productive years, between the ages of 15 and 49. People become too sick to farm and feed themselves and their families. Significant losses in food production also result from deaths in families, and time taken to attend funerals and other mourning rituals.

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