"For years, many scientists have been making dire predictions of widespread irreversible ‘desertification’ in the African Sahel. But recent findings have proven them wrong.
Satellite images consistently show an increase in ‘greenness’ since the 1980s over large areas, confirming evidence on the ground indicating that the Sahel has recovered from the great droughts of the 1980s, and that human factors have played a large role in reclaiming the desert.
Although variable rainfall and droughts are seen as normal in arid and semiarid climates, the droughts that struck the Sahel in the late 1960s through to the 1980s were unprecedented in length and severity. Land degradation and famine during the droughts, exacerbated by political instability and unrest, prompted the UN to hold a conference on desertification in 1977. This initiated a debate, still ongoing, on the causes and effects of drought, land degradation and desertification." (...and Rania is back, with thanks!)
I don't know how many of you have been following the very interesting blog comments exchange in the "Senate Skeptics" post, and if you haven't, take a look, believe me, it is worth it. Here's another controversial issue: is the UNCCD all wrong?