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Project site - The area around Lake Chad

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Lake Chad is situated at the edge of the Sahara Desert and shared by Nigeria with the Republics of Chad, Niger and Cameroon. It previously covered an area of about 25,000 square kilometers but, has shrunk considerably to a mere 2,500 square kilometers over the last 40 years and it is still receding.

The area around Lake Chad© 2010 AU-IBAR. The area around Lake Chad

The combined effects of climate fluctuations (droughts) and unsustainable water projects (large dams) led to significant reductions in the flow of rivers that feed Lake Chad. It is therefore not difficult to appreciate the disappearance of many valuable plant and fish species, loss of wildlife species and reduction of canopy cover. Village communities in these formerly extensive wetlands frequently lament such permanent losses of biodiversity, previously thriving fish festivals and employment opportunities. Loss of canopy cover, a product of both natural and anthropogenic causes, have exposed the land to erosion by water and wind over decades and has produced virtually sterile soils in many areas of the Chad basin.

Poor irrigation practices and misuse of chemical fertilizers have aggravated the loss of soil fertility in the basin. Conflicts over natural resource use between different land and water users (upstream and downstream, crop farmers and the nomadic herdsmen, wildlife and irrigation water, etc.) are a common occurrence. This has been exacerbated by the failure of traditional rules governing peaceful relationships.