Problems Of Desertification in Somalia

by Mohamed Abdi Saney | Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 | 987 views

Mohamed Hussein Sabrie (Diinaari)

Teacher At Univrsal School Of Languages, in Beletwein

Diinaka  During the last 20 years, as everyone aware of, a new type of business was started in Somalia. That is cutting of trees to produce charcoal for export to the Gulf States and it became a big business with considerable profits. In order to optimize the operation, local businessmen introduced a new technology – battery-powered chain saws for cutting of the forests. However, Trees are cut down, burn and brought by trucks for export from major ports in the country. Becoming Somalia’s black gold, traders earn about million $US per ship. Due to absence of government, there is no documentation of the volumes being exported or the amount of trees being cut down. And it yielded to become the country deforested.

Charcoal plays an important role in both the energy sectors and the economies of most African countries. Charcoal making provides a considerable amount of employment in rural areas. However, the inefficiencies inherent to the production and use of charcoal place a heavy strain on local wood resources, resulting severe environmental consequences. In many parts of the world, the use of charcoal has been blamed for deforestation. Deforestation in the drier parts of Somalia has led to an even worse problem – desertification and the loss of thousands of species.

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Hundreds of square kilometers are cleared every month by the charcoal industry. This results in hundreds of square kilometers of burned land that no longer hosts any life. Huge trees, over 80 and 100 years old, are burned down to produce charcoal. In the same process plants, pasture and soil are also burned to nothing.

The cutting down of the Acacia Busei tree, which is an important tree in the Somali landscape, is resulting in a devastated land. In one type of charcoal oven, between three and four hundred Acacia Busei trees are burnt at one time.

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Somalia has the lowest consumption of modern forms of energy. Firewood and charcoal are the major sources of energy for the majority of the people in Somalia. As a result of this, the removal of trees in Somalia is steadily increasing, following demographic trends, which are reversing the traditional Somali nomadic way of life, as well as other social crisis. As their source of energy, rural people rely on firewood while urban inhabitants use charcoal. Mogadishu’s charcoal supply comes mainly from the south. In rural areas, strong link between poverty and deforestation exist.

Potential Energy Resources – Un-exploited Sources: Yet Somalia is rich in energy resources, having un-exploited reserves of oil and natural gas, untapped hydropower, extensive geothermal energy resources, many promising wind sites, and abundant sunshine, which can produce solar power. Despite all these, traditional biomass fuels, mainly Somalia use the Charcoal which causes the land to become deforested.

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Anguish will face Somalis long after a solution is found for the current political crisis is the damage that has been done to the environment of the nation. Due to a lack of central government to establish and maintain control, together with a lack of environmental awareness, people have turned to all kinds of illegal and damaging activities. These include, for example, the burning of trees and forests for charcoal, the poaching of wild animals for leather, and the export of all kinds of animals for foreign currency.

As we aware of, about 60 per cent of Somalia’s population are nomads and their dependence on pasture land is obvious. Most Somalis depend on livestock for their livelihoods and for food. Livestock depends on plants. If the current rate of desertification is not stopped, plants, livestock and humans will die together and there will be little life left on the land for many generations to come.


The export of charcoal and forage to foreign countries should be immediately stopped. The rate is alarming at which trees are felled for the manufacture of charcoal — currently almost 400,000 tons of charcoal is being exported from Somalia to foreign countries each month.

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Finally, I am advising to those who involve the desertification of our land to stop immediately, because what they are deforesting is their country. At last, I am welcoming every Somali who can do something to stop these tragedies which brought our recourses to its knee.

Mohamed Hussein Sabrie (Diinaari)

Teacher At Univrsal School Of Languages, in Beletwein,

Shabakada Hiiraan Xog

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