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For much of the 1980’s and ‘90’s, environmental degradation in Darfur and other parts of the semi-arid region called the Sahel – just south of the Sahara – was blamed on land use (i.e., cutting trees and overgrazing) by it’s inhabitants. Dramatic declines in rainfall were attributed to inhabitants’ mistreatment of the region’s vegetation. It is now believed that the impact of global warming exposed more rock and sand in this region which absorb less sunlight than plants. This cooled the air near the surface of the land, drawing clouds downward and reducing the chance of rain.
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