New atlas of Africa


  • Randy Showstack


A newly revised atlas of Africa features more than 300 satellite images that show striking before and after photographs of environmental changes spanning about 35 years. Africa: Atlas of Our Changing Environment, compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), provides visual evidence of how development choices, population growth, climate change, and, in some cases, conflicts affect Africa, often negatively. The book includes photographs of shrinking glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro as well as on Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains; deforestation along an expanding road system in the Congo; the drying up of Lake Chad; and the expansion of urban areas such as Cape Town, South Africa, and Dakar, Senegal. Satellite images also indicate some positive signs of environmental management, including action to stop overgrazing in a Tunisian national park, the effects of a management plan for a dam in Zambia that has helped restore seasonal flooding, and positive impacts of wetlands expansion around a national park in Mauritania.