Why are trees so important in an area like Diourbel in Senegal?

Trees growing in a rural village

Diourbel is a hot, dry area. It does not rain a lot and the hot sun soon dries out the top soil. This soil turns to dust. At certain times of the year, very strong winds come in from the Sahara desert. This blows the dusty top soil away. The soil underneath is a lot poorer and does not contain the same goodness as the top soil.

Trees are good for the soil. They shelter the soil and provide a barrier against these strong winds. The roots of the trees go deep into the ground. They draw water from underground to the surface. This helps to bind the good top soil together and stops it drying out, turning into dust and blowing away. This water also helps the plants to grow.