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Environmental History of North Africa

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Lee, Seungwoo
Term Paper, AP European History Class, December 2009

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Definition
III. Objective
IV. Overall Environment of North Africa
IV.1 Climate
IV.2 Geography
V. Atlas Mountains
V.1 Geographical and Geological facts
V.2 History
VI. Sahara Desert
VI.1 Climate changes since prehistoric era and characteristics
VI.2 Ancient History
VI.3 Development and Civilization
VI.4 Modern History
VI.5 Ecological Cycle and Ecoregions
VII. Sahel Belt
VII.1 Geography and Ecological Cycle
VII.2 Inhabitance
VIII. Suez Canal
VIII.1 Location and Advantage
VIII.2 Construction and Ancient History
VIII.3 Medieval to 19th century History
VIII.4 Conflicts surrounding Suez Canal
VIII.5 Environmental Impact
IX. Nile River
IX.1 Ancient Civilization
IX.2 Recent Development
X. Use of Land in North Africa
X.1 Agriculture
X.2 Pastoral Grazing
X.3 Petroleum and Natural Resources
X.4 Industrialization
XI. Efforts to Preserve Environment in Present Days
XII. Conclusion

I. Introduction
            The term “Environmental History” emerged recently as people started to focus on the influence of environment of a region on its history. Until the 1920s, people saw environment as a separate factor of history that should be investigated by ecologists. However, in the 1920s, the development of Annales School contributed a lot to increased interest in environmental history. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie was the first one who started to study environmental history as it is studied today. Rise of environmentalism also stimulated the growth of environmental history. Initially, environmental history was mainly focused on relationship between pre-industrial society and its surroundings. However, the study of environmental history has expanded to industrial society recently. (1)
            In North Africa, the history has inseparable relationship with the environmental condition. Since the emergence of human being, the environment of North Africa has had great influence on history of that region. Still, its environment is attracting a lot of people’s interest in various ways.

II. Definition.
            The region 'North Africa' refers to the territory consisted of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. However, this paper includes Sahel Belt as it is a region closely related to the Sahara Desert ecologically. The term 'Environmental History' refers to the study of relationship between geography or climate and historical events.

III Objective
            Objective of this paper is to investigate the influence of environment on North African history. Furthermore, it would be able to anticipate the problems that will rise in the region if the main causes of conflicts or problems arose in the region are figured out.

IV. Overall Environment of North Africa

IV.1 Climate
            The climate of North Africa is similar to that of Mediterranean Sea. In summer, the region is arid and in winter, it is humid and rainy. Generally, the climate is agreeable. Such a pleasant weather enables agriculture to flourish in Atlas Mountain region.

IV.2 Geography
            The most noticeable characteristic of North African geography is the desert. Sahara desert is covering most of the land except for Atlas Mountains in North Africa. Sahel Zone, which is semi-arid region with extremely little precipitation, is located to the south of the Sahara desert. The longest river in the world, the Nile River, is flowing through Egypt and Sudan.

V Atlas Mountains

V.1 Geographical and Geological Facts
            The Atlas Mountains are located in the north-western part of the African continent. They stretch through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The length of the entire mountain range is about 2,500 km. The highest peak, Jbel Toubkal, is 4,167 meter high. The mountains are divided into several subranges; Middle Atlas range, High Atlas range, Anti-Atlas ranges, Saharan Atlas range, Tell Atlas range, and Aur?s mountain range.
            In geological aspect, Atlas Mountains were formed through three stages. The first range to be formed was Anti-Atlas, in Paleozoic Era, as a result of continental collisions. The mountains were once connected with what are now Appalachian Mountains in North America. In Mesozoic Era, separation of plates which resulted in division of Africa and American continent formed several intracontinental basins including the Atlas. Lastly, in Tertiary Era, as Europe and Africa collided, the mountain chains comprising the Atlas were lifted.
            The Atlas is rich in natural resources. Iron ore, lead ore, copper, silver, mercury, rock salt, phosphate, marble, anthracite coal, and natural gas are abundant in the Atlas.

V.2 History
            The High Atlas Mountains, which stretch through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, have been inhabited for thousands of years. The rock carvings and engravings prove that they have been inhabited for about 12,000 years. However, history of exploration has only been about a hundred years. The first ones to explore Atlas Mountains were British explorers. British botanist and director of Royal Kew Gardens, Sir Joseph Hooker and his two colleagues toured around the Atlas and climbed up to 3000m.
            In the early 1900s, as Morocco experienced foreign power domination, French carried out most of exploration of the Atlas until 1960s. French explorer Marquis de Segnozac climbed the highest peak of the Atlas and established that Toubkal is the highest peak of the Atlas.
            In the mountainous region, Berbers, who had been the original inhabitants of Morocco until the invasion of Arabic force, are residing with mixture of their own lifestyle and that of Arab. At the village of Berbers, there is at least one mosque, which shows the influence of Islamic world to African tribes. (2)

VI. Sahara Desert.

VI.1 climate changes since prehistoric era and characteristics
            The climate of Sahara desert has changed over hundreds of thousands of years. During the glacial period, Sahara Desert was even bigger than it is now; it was covering southern area of current boundary. By the end of glacial period, more rain fall because of monsoon. Monsoon occurs when it is extremely hot; the hot air pulls in cool air and brings rain from the ocean. Thus, southern Sahara became wetter and only northern region remained dry. When this phenomenon happened, it is recorded that human beings settled in the Sahara Desert. Around 3400 BC, the desertification continued again; the dry climate of North Africa has continued for over 10,000 years.
            According to WWF ecoregion division, Sahara is consisted of deserts and xeric shrublands, and about 9,000,000 square kilometers wide. Although most part of Sahara is free from artificial threats, oases are under dangers because people hunt animals for food and exploit natural resources. Mammals like addax, which are adapted to arid condition, are now critically threatened with extinction. Moreover, as Algeria and Tunisia start to develop the region with irrigated water, drainage problems like soil degradation are emerging. (3)

VI.2 Ancient History
            Berbers are the oldest inhabitants of Sahara. They occupied almost two thirds of Sahara and once built empire right at the center of the desert. Their recordings are sometimes excavated in Southern Algeria, Northern Mali, and Niger.
            Egyptians were another group of old inhabitants of Sahara Desert. By 6000 BC, Egyptians were raising cattle and settled in large buildings in the southwestern part of Egypt. They were mostly centered on agriculture or manufacture of household stuff. In the Egyptian Sahara, semi-arid conditions of Sahara allowed for shrubs and grasses to grow. Human beings as well as animals adapted to dry condition were able to live in such conditions. The Egyptians mostly resided in the Nile valley, where trade was facilitated by the river.
            Nubians, in Neolithic era, resided in Sudan; it was not barren as it is today. Most of them participated fully in 'agricultural revolution', sustaining large population living near Sahara Desert. They lived settled lives, farming and raising domesticated animals. Nubian artifacts show that they had advanced astronomical and scientific devices.
            Phoenicians, who prospered between 1200 and 800 BC, established a civilization in Lebanon. They traded with Egypt and the Maghreb. In about 800 BC, they founded Carthago, which became a rival of Rome in the Mediterranean region. The Phoenicians established a federation reaching from Egypt’s western border to the Atlantic, and Carthago was the center of the federation. Although their prosperity was centered along the Mediterranean coast, their influence was great in the Sahara. They first introduced camel to this region, enabling trans-Saharan trade. Their language is also used by residents of ancient Libya.
            Greeks, although their settlement was limited to Cyrenaica, extensively traded along the eastern coast of the desert, establishing trading posts along the Red Sea. The Carthaginians explored along the Atlantic coast of the desert.
            Constant raid from Berbers prevented a lot of tribes from settling. Also, constant desertification of Sahara thwarted development of sustainable agriculture near the desert.

VI.3 Development and Civilization
            Urban civilization of the Sahara Desert was first tried by Garamantes. They dug tunnels to mountains so that they could draw water to their fields. They grew populous and powerful, conquering neighboring tribes and enslaving a lot of conquered people. They traded with Greeks and Romans, which was proven by Roman bath found in Garamante capital. Eight major towns and several important settlements were excavated by archaeologists. They had to abandon their cities when the water was depleted and they could no longer sustain their livings there.
            As Islam power conquered North Africa, trade across the Sahara Desert became even more frequent than before. In particular, empires in Sahel district, including Ghana Empire and Mali Empire, imported salt from Mediterranean countries and exported gold, while northern region exported manufactured goods and horses to the southern region. Therefore, villages once located near oases developed into trading posts. Slave trade was also carried out across Sahara. Such a function of Sahara as a trading route disappeared as Europeans began to use ships to trade with Africa.
            Ottoman Empire also invaded North Africa. It conquered Egypt in 1517. Algeria voluntarily became vassal states of Ottoman Empire by Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa. Tunisia was also a nominal colony of Ottoman Empire, which became in effect a self-governing sector. Morocco was the only exception of Turkish rule. Ottoman restored its control over Libya in 1835.
            Then, European Imperialist powers, in particular France, Spain, Britain, and Italy, invaded the continent of Africa. To baptize nomads in the desert, the Pope appointed a delegate Apostolic of the Sahara and the Sudan in 1868. Although Sahara lost its function as a trading route in earlier period, European countries conquered countries near it like Egypt, Libya, Sudan, and Tunisia.

VI.4 Modern History
            During World War II, Italian force which was stationed in Libya invaded Egypt. However, it was driven backward after confrontation with British Commonwealth force in December 1940. To support Italian army which was beaten by British troop, Erwin Rommel, later called "The Desert Fox", was sent to Sahara. He led Axis power to victory, using his own strategies during the warfare. From 1941 to 1943, Sahara was the stage of fierce battles between Axis powers and British Commonwealth power.
            After World War II, most of countries surrounding the Sahara Desert became independent states. The desert, which is rich in oil, natural gas, and phosphate, suffered exploitative mining recently. Furthermore, deposit of metallic materials support the whole economies of several countries near the Sahara Desert. Therefore, the influence the Sahara Desert has on the economy and history of countries near it is considerable. (4)
            Moreover, the Sahara is becoming a very dangerous place with widespread terrorist forces. Since early 2003, US military and other government agencies declared ‘War on Terrorism’ on the Sahara-Sahel region. There are a lot of key terrorist forces like GSPC (Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat) in the Sahara because it is the perfect place which can be ‘out of sight’ and ‘beyond verification’ with its vastness. (5)

VI.5 Ecological Cycle and Ecoregions in Sahara
            Tassili n'Ajjer, a mountain range in the Sahara, possesses art works showing the progress hunters settling down with domesticated cattle and planted crops. They show that Sahara was once inhabitable place for people and animals. In the engravings, horses gradually give their place to camels. This change means that the savanna was altering into the desert. Then the destructive cycle began; as temperature fell, the precipitation lessened. Less rain meant less plants covering ground, so the ground could not absorb enough sunlight so fewer hot air rose, generating less rainfall.
            Nowadays, the Sahara is consisted of various ecoregions according to World Wide Fund of Nature, or WWF. The ecoregions consisting Sahara include Atlantic coastal desert, North Saharan steppe and woodlands, Sahara desert, South Saharan steppe and woodlands, West Saharan montane xeric woodlands, Tibesti-Jebel Uweinat montane xeric woodlands, Saharan halophytics, and Tanezrouft.
            There are various animal species in Sahara Desert, thanks to its uniquely dry conditions. Nomads domesticate dromedary camels and goats. Also, a very dangerous species inhabit in the Sahara; deathstalker. It is a kind of scorpions which contains deadly venom. Additionally, there are monitor lizards, sand vipers, African wild dogs, fennec foxes, hyraxes, ostriches, Saharan cheetah, and dorcas gazelles. Many of these species are under threat of extinction because of excessive hunting.

VII. Sahel Belt

VII.1 Geography and Ecological Cycle
            Sahel Belt is a semi-arid region at the south of Sahara Desert. It is a transition between Sahara Desert and Sudan, savanna belt with less arid climate. It stretches from Atlantic Ocean to Red Sea, including various ecoregions in it. Countries included in Sahel Belt are Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea. Sahel is classified as a separate ecoregion from surrounding lowlands because of its special fauna and flora. Because of its location, historical kingdoms located there benefitted the most from trade across the Sahara Desert. The first kingdom to emerge in this region was the Kingdom of Ghana, which dominated the region between 750 and 1078. After Ghana, there was Mali Empire between 1235 and 1400. In 1810, the Fulani Empire was established, but it was divided by the Imperialist powers.
            The Sahel is mostly covered with shrubs and grasses. Acacias are the most dominant species in the Sahel. The Sahel is home for many grazing animals such as oryxes, gazelles, cheetah, and lions. However, many of these species are endangered or extinct. The Sahel functions as shelter for migrating birds on the African-Eurasian flyways.

VII.2 Inhabitance
            The first domestication of plants took place in the Sahel Belt around 5000 B.C. However, as the climate became drier around 4000 B.C, the agriculture in the Sahel was discouraged and moved into West Africa.
            Originally, inhabitants of Sahel were mostly nomads. To raise their cattle, they utilized the system of transhumance, maximizing the benefit of the Sahel with dry north and wet south. In rainy season, the nomads let their cattle graze in northern region of the Sahel because more nutrient grasses prevail in north in the rainy season. When the rainy season ends, they take their cattle southward, feeding them with less nutrient but abundant grass of southern region.
            Most of the powerful kingdoms in African history are based on the Sahel Belt. Trans-Saharan trade enabled those kingdoms to earn considerable profit from trading. Their powers were also based on abundance of horses and camels which enabled fast transportation within the countries and provided increased mobile power. Although those empires were financially powerful, they were restricted from expanding southward because their military powers were useless in southern forest region.
            Recently, there has been enduring drought which led to extreme famine in the Sahel. The drought made inhabitants in the area to move southward, making the area even less populous than before.(6)

VIII. Suez Canal

VIII.1 Location and Advantage
            Suez Canal is located in Egypt, connecting Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea. It is of great importance as it enables water transportation between Europe and Asia without circumnavigating the whole African continent. It stretches from Port Said to Port Tawfik. The canal is owned by Egypt and used in wartime as in peacetime without any discrimination or distinction of nation.

VIII.2 Construction and Ancient History
            There were numerous trials to construct canal facilitating transportation from Egypt to Oriental world. A small canal connecting Nile River and Red Sea is believed to have been constructed by either Senusret II or Ramesses II. Another one was built by Necho II and Darius. French cartographers found remnants of canals connecting various waterways and there are records proving that there had been a lot of trials to build canals by Egyptian dynasty. For example, Aristotle wrote in his Meteorology:

      "One of their kings tried to make a canal to it (for it would have been of no little advantage to them for the whole region to have become navigable; Sesostris is said to have been the first of the ancient kings to try), but he found that the sea was higher than the land. So he first, and Darius afterwards, stopped making the canal, lest the sea should mix with the river water and spoil it."

            Necho also tried to dig a west-east canal between Bubastis and Heroopolis, but he never completed his construction. Later, Darius, a Persian emperor who conquered Egypt, completed the task for the sake of better transportation between Egypt and Persia.
            Aside from these constructions, there have been numerous repair and extension of those canals.(7)

VIII.3 Medieval to 19th century History
            Although there have been a lot of trials and constructions to build east-west canals, Napoleon was the first one who seriously contemplated about constructing modern north-south canal that connects Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea. When he conquered Egypt, he was interested in the ancient recordings about canals existed between Red Sea and Nile. Therefore, he tried to build a canal connecting Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea, but his dream was abandoned because of numerical errors in calculation; the expense necessary for construction was estimated to be extremely high. Therefore, Napoleon had to give up his dream.
            In 1854 and 1856, Ferdinand de Lesseps established Suez Canal Company under concession from Said Pasha, the viceroy of Egypt. The construction took 10 years and at first, Suez Canal Company had to suffer financial instability because overall view of public was skeptical. The canal opened on 17, November, 1869. The canal had enormous influence on world transportation.
            The Convention of Constantinople in 1888 declared the Suez Canal to be neutral and should be protected by British troops. British troops moved into Egypt to protect the canal when Egyptian civil war broke out in 1882.

VIII.4 Conflicts surrounding Suez Canal
            Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 guaranteed British possession of Suez Canal. In 1951, however, Egypt repudiated this treaty and British had to agree to remove its troops in 1956.
            Significant conflict surrounding the Suez occurred in 1956 and is named Suez crisis. The United Kingdom and the United States refused to finance the construction of Aswan Dam as Egypt allied with Soviet Union. As a result, Egypt nationalized Suez Canal to use revenue from the canal for the construction of the dam. UK, France and Israel invaded Egypt immediately, and the United Nations signed up for peacekeeping resolution to avoid serious warfare. Despite international effort to end the conflict, the canal was partially damaged so it had to be closed until 1957.
            In 1967, the president Nasser order UN peacekeeping troop to withdraw from Sinai Peninsula. He prohibited Israeli ships from using the canal and this action provoked Israel. Israeli force occupied Sinai Peninsula and the warfare was magnified as a war between Arab World and Israel. As a result of the war, the canal had to be closed until 1975, making fourteen cargo ships captured in the canal for eight years.

VIII.5 Environmental Impact
            By enabling the water to flow between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal influenced the ecology of Northeast Africa. As the altitude of the Red Sea is higher than that of eastern Mediterranean Sea, the water flows from the Red Sea into the Mediterranean Sea. There is The Bitter Lakes which form a part of the canal, which is so salty that fish could not pass through. However, as the water began to flow, the salinity of the lakes equalized with that of the Red Sea. The species in the Red Sea consequently migrated to the Mediterranean, invading the habitats of originally inhabiting species.
            The inflow of the species from the Red Sea had destructive effects on the Mediterranean ecology. About 300 species from the Red Sea are found in the Mediterranean, endangering indigenous species. Egyptian government is planning to enlarge the size of canal, and the plan brought serious objection from marine biologists. Suez Canal, despite its positive effects in economics, has a devastating effect on the marine ecology of the region. (8)

IX. Nile River

IX.1 Ancient Civilization
            Nile River is the birthplace of Egyptian Civilization. The world’s longest river contributed a lot to the development of civilization in Egypt.
            Nile is notorious for its frequent inundation. In Ancient Egypt, dwellers near the river had to suffer extreme damage because of the flood. To avoid the damage from inundation, the Egyptians started to observe celestial bodies to anticipate the next flood. As a result, the Ancient Egyptians achieved a great development in astronomy. Also, in case of flood, the Egyptians could not figure out the land they possessed; the signs marking the boundaries are destroyed. Therefore, they started to measure the size of the land they had, which developed into the technology of survey, and it led to development of mathematics.
            Also, the Nile River took an important role in providing people with food. The fertile land surrounding the Nile was used for cultivation of wheat and crops, feeding a large population. The river attracted animals such as buffaloes and camels, enabling Egyptians to use them for food.
            Nile, as the longest river in the world, facilitated transportation a lot. The wheat and crops cultivated near the Nile could be traded through the Nile River. The adjacent Middle East often suffered from lack of food, so the Egyptians exported their crops to the region. Such a role of Egypt as a provider of food made the international status of Egypt stable. Also, the fertility of land surrounding the Nile contributed to security of Ancient Egyptian society as the wealth satisfied public and purchase of mercenaries or professional warriors was capable.
            The Nile also carried out religious role. Ancient Egyptians thought Nile as a passage from birth to death. The east side referred to birth, while the west side indicated death. Therefore, Egyptians thought that the god of sun "Ra" was born, died, and revived every day. They also created a god for Nile's inundation. At the west side of the Nile, there are tombs of Egyptians because they thought that those tombs should be there for the dead to revive or live afterlife.
            Nile was the backbone of Ancient Egyptian civilization; it is related to economy, religion, life, and death. Without Nile, Egypt would have been one of the African countries without history and artifacts. As Herodotus said, "Egypt was the gift of the Nile." (9)

IX.2 Recent Development
            In 1902, construction of dams in Asyut and old Aswan was completed. They controlled the inundation of river so that the irrigation became available. The construction of dams was carried out in Ysna, Sennar, Nag Hammadi and other regions as well. However, the height of old Aswan Dam turned out to be significantly low; in case of extreme inundation, the dam could not stand the water pressure so they would have to open the dam gate. Therefore, in 1970, Aswan High Dam was newly built and the Nasser Lake was made. As a result of the construction, over 24000 square kilometer was irrigated in Egypt, and 4050 square kilometers in Sudan.
            The Nile is not occupied by Egypt; it belongs to international society. Therefore, the profit made from the Nile is distributed to Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda, according to their agreement. As Uganda built dam on Owen waterfall, active development of water resource began. In 1960, hydroelectric power generation began in Aswan dam.(10)
            There have been a lot of conflicts between nations consisting Nile basin for the water supply. Although there was no actual war, there were several skirmishes between Sudanese troop and Egyptian troop. As water supply gets scarce, the armed conflicts will get more intense and frequent.(11)

X. Use of Land in North Africa

X.1 Agriculture
            North Africa deployed Mediterranean style of farming. The region has about 50 inches of rainfall a year. This precipitation is appropriate for usual crops to grow. In ancient period, Carthargians cultivated crops similar to that of Romans. During Pax Romana, Romans exploited North African land, using Roman style of cultivation. For long time, North African agriculture resembled that of Mediterranean coast in Europe; they grew fruits or olives.
            However, compared with the size of territory, North Africa is not dedicated to agriculture or ranching. Less than 20% of land is used for agriculture. For those countries under the colored countries, it is possible to infer that agricultural use of land would be extremely rare because they are mostly covered with the Sahara Desert. Only countries such as Morocco and Tunisia are devoted to farming, as the climate in these countries is similar to that of Spain, Italy, or Greece. (13)

X.2 Pastoral Grazing
            Dryland areas of North Africa, even with irregular rainfall, harsh environment, and fragile ecology, sustained huge human and cattle population for thousands of years. Recently, however, financial investments to develop African rangelands have failed because the technicians were unable to transfer their knowledge to people as these people could not understand the limits of pastoral systems.
            In this area, rangelands livestock production by the migratory pastorals is a mixed crop-animal system. Traditionally, vegetation supplied livestock energy requirements, and failed crop residues supplemented crop grazing. This system disappeared 10 years ago because dryland cultivation technology was developed and natural forages were removed. Nowadays, range forages support only 20% of cattle while 80 % depends on import. This phenomenon is evident in Libya. The increasing cultivation is greatly diminishing the size of rangeland in North Africa.(14)

X.3 Petroleum and Natural Gas
            Oil industry and export of natural resources are the most profitable industries in North Africa. African continent contains about ten percent of confirmed oil reserves in the world. The oil reserves in Africa are mostly concentrated to northwestern part of the African continent. Algeria and Libya has transformed their economies when petroleum was discovered in the countries. Algeria is a member state of OPEC, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. It is the third largest oil exporting country in Africa, which has 12.3 billion barrel oil reserves. Its petroleum is famous for high quality. Natural gas reserve in Algeria is the ninth largest in the world and reaches approximately 4.5 trillion square meters. Libya, the second largest oil exporting country in Africa, earns 28.4 billion dollar for its oil export. Profit from export of oil and natural gas accounts for 33 % of GDP, 95 % of export revenue, and 75 % of government revenue. Other North African countries like Egypt and Sudan also occupy fifth and sixth largest oil production respectively, depending on petroleum industry a lot.
            Originally, the oil industry has been concentrated on the Middle East, but oil companies are starting to expand or begin their investments in North Africa. The reasons for such change are the proximity of North Africa from European market and the quality of petroleum from North Africa. For example, Exxon Mobile and Chevron, the most competitive oil companies in the world, have established bases for further development. Not only oil alone but also natural gas is attracting oil companies as well.
            The competition for petroleum is being carried out in national levels. China, for sufficient supply of energy sources in stage of developing country, is participating in the competition by unconditional support and diplomacy. The United States is occupying some of African oil reserves for long term energy source. About 20% of American oil imports are from Nigeria. (15)

X.4 Industrialization
            North Africa, except for Egypt, is undeveloped with regard to industries. Most countries depend on single industry, which is mostly oil export. Other than petroleum industry, Morocco exports natural resources such as phosphates and agricultural products. Egypt has rather various industries including tourism, electronics and engineering industry, and textile industry. The monotonousness of North African industry shows that economy of the region is largely dependent on its environment.

XI. Efforts to Preserve Environment in Present Days
            UNEP, United Nations Environment Programme, has a subordinate organization for improvement of African environment. Along with development, constant pollution of water has resulted high mortality rate and lack of edible water. North African nations made some efforts to keep their water clean and their land sustainable for farming.
            Countries like Egypt and Libya are already under serious water shortage. Their shortage is not even a matter of water management, there is no extent for control anymore. To solve such a serious water shortage, African nations are trying to utilize satellite to excavate underground water sources. Moreover, in Tunis seminar which was held for the discussion of environmental problems in North Africa, the nations signed for "Action Plan", which is designed under three themes; water management, environmental management and assessment tools.

XII. Conclusion
            North Africa’s environment has crucial role in determining the history, economy, and lives of people in many aspects. It has enormous potential to be developed, so a lot of countries including both North African countries and others competed to take advantage of the land. In ancient period, kingdoms located in North Africa were powerful so that they developed their environment in various ways. However, as colonial powers dominated the region, the environment was developed for the advantage of invasive powers. Nowadays, most of nations in North Africa depend on their environment economically. They have exploited the environment, so the international society is making effort to save their environment and protect the ecological cycle. Therefore, the environmental history of North Africa can be summarized as a process of resisting and using environment for survival.
            North Africa has a lot of precious environmental resources and spectacles. For people to live and for the environment to be sustained, governments and people should make efforts to co-exist with the environment; if they do not, the base of their society will collapse.


1.      Article : Environmental History, from Wikipedia
2.      Article : Atlas Mountains, from Wikipedia
3.      WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions ? Sahara Desert.
4.      Article : Sahara Desert, from Wikipedia
5.      Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 31, No. 101(Sep. 2004), pp. 475-496
6.      Article : Sahel Belt, from Wikipedia
7.      Hughes 1998
8.      Article : Suez Canal, from Wikipedia
9.      Article : Nile, from Wikipedia
10.      “Water, Environment, and Sustainable Development in North Africa”, UNECA
11.      ICE Case Studies- Nile River Dispute
13.      African Farming Development
14.      Rangelands, Vol.14, No.4, (Aug., 1992), pp. 201-205
15.      KEEI , SERI


Note : websites quoted below were visited in December 2009.
Primary sources
1.      Meteorology, Aristotle
2.      “Data &Statistics ? Middle East & North Africa Environment Indicators”, from World Bank,,,contentMDK:21055293~menuPK:2998929~pagePK:64168445~piPK:64168309~theSitePK:2875751,00.html

Secondary Sources
3.      Article : Sahara Desert, from Wikipedia
4.      Article : Suez Canal, from Wikipedia
5.      Article : Atlas Mountains, from Wikipedia
6.      "Water, Environment, and Sustainable Development in North Africa", UNECA
7.      Article : Ancient Egypt, from Wikipedia
8.      Article: Nile, from Wikipedia
9.      J. Donald Hughes, Ecology in Ancient Civilizations, Science Books, 1998
10.      Article: Numidia, from Wikipedia
11.      Article: Carthage, from Wikipedia
12.      Article: Sahel Belt, from Wikipedia
13.      Article: Egyptian National Railways, from Wikipedia,
14.      Article: Environmental History, from Wikipedia
15.      Des Clark, Central High Atlas Mountains, travelogue, from Nomadic Morocco, (commercial site)
16.      Article : Erwin Rommel, from Wikipedia
17.      African Farming Development, from History Link,
18.      석유메이저, 리비아 등 북아프리카에 주목 (Major enterprises in petroleum industry are carefully considering investment in North Africa), 에너지 경제 연구원 (Korean Energy Economics Institute) ,
19.      아프리카 자원 현황 (Current State of African Energy Source), from SERI (Samsung Economics Research Institute),
20.      Nile River Dispute, ICE Case Studies,
21.      World Wildlife Fund Ecoregion,
22.      Rangelands Vol. 14, No. 4 (Aug, 1992) "Sustainable Rangelands in the Near East and the North Africa", Ahmed E. Sidahmed
23.      Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 31, No. 101(Sep. 2004) "Terror in the Sahara : the Implication of US Imperialism for North & West Africa”, Jeremy Keenan

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