Exhibit Introduction

From Wet to Dry - Africa ImageFrom Wet to Dry:
Critical Environments of Africa

An exhibit at the Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University, Summer 2015.
Curated by Eric Johnson.
Online exhibit by Gene Kannenberg, Jr.

Africa is a mosaic of different environments – windswept deserts to snowy mountains, flooded swamps to vast savannahs, and everything in between. Many of these environments are facing significant stress due to factors such as global warming and increasing human activity, and this puts stress on the native plants and animals. Environments are a delicate web, a perfect balance of nature, and need to be preserved. Animals spread seeds, pollinate flowers, and help recycle nutrients back into the soil. Thriving biodiversity is a signifier of a healthy environment, which keeps humans healthy as well. Many of our medicines come from compounds discovered in wild plants. Rainforests produce vast amounts of oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. Protecting the rivers and lakes for other animals ensures that humans too have fresh, clean water to drink.

The four environments highlighted here were chosen to represent a wide array of critical environments in Africa that are unique and continue to face significant problems. Take a journey through the rainforests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Namib desert region in Namibia, the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana, and the brilliant coral reefs in the Seychelles, and experience some of nature’s hidden gems.

This website allows you to explore each region through an informative introduction (accompanied by a regional map), spotlights on significant images, books from our collection about the region, and online videos. There’s also an interactive map of the continent, highlighting each of these environments, a list of further reading about African environments in general, and a LibGuide with additional resources.