Hydrologic Redistribution and Rhizosphere Biology of Resource Islands in Degraded Agro-ecosystems of the Sahel


  • The Sahel region of Sub-Saharan Africa is a very vulnerable environment, under threat from desertification and soil degradation.  This is seriously reducing the food supply, and led to the okrecent famine in rural Niger.

  •  A scientifically validated agricultural system is now urgently needed that ensures landscape conservation, provides adequate and sustainable nutrient and water supplies, and optimizes crop productivity.
  • This PIRE (Partnership for International Research Education) project will enable a partnership of U.S., Senegalese, and French researchers and students to examine how native shrubs of the Sahel region influence soil moisture and soil microbial composition and how such shrubs, when planted with food crops, might represent a new biologically-based way to improve production in semi-arid agroecosystem.



Four year research has shown that both peanut and pearl millet have greater yields in the presence of shrubs. Crops grow taller and yield more when grown near shrubs.