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Geography of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) is a landlocked Sahel country that shares borders with six nations. It lies between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea, south of the loop of the Niger River. The land is green in the south, with forests and fruit trees, and desert in the north. Most of central Burkina Faso lies on a savanna plateau, 198-305 meters (650-1,000 ft.) above sea level, with fields, brush, and scattered trees. Burkina Faso's game preserves--the most important of which are Arly[?], Nazinga[?], and W National Park[?]--contain lions, elephants, hippopotamus, monkeys, warthogs, and antelopes. Tourism is not well developed.

Annual rainfall varies from about 100 centimeters (40 in.) in the south to less than 25 centimeters (10 in.) in the extreme north and northeast, where hot desert winds accentuate the dryness of the region. Burkina Faso has three distinct seasons: warm and dry (November-March), hot and dry (March-May), and hot and wet (June-October). Rivers are not navigable.

Location: Western Africa, north of Ghana

Geographic coordinates: 13°00' N, 2°00' W

Map references: Africa

Area:
total: 274,200 sq km
land: 273,800 sq km
water: 400 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly larger than Colorado

Land boundaries:
total: 3,192 km
border countries: Benin 306 km, Côte d'Ivoire 584 km, Ghana 548 km, Mali 1,000 km, Niger 628 km, Togo 126 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: tropical; warm, dry winters; hot, wet summers

Terrain: mostly flat to dissected, undulating plains; hills in west and southeast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mouhoun[?] (Black Volta[?]) River 200 m
highest point: Tena Kourou[?] 749 m

Natural resources: manganese, limestone, marble; small deposits of gold, antimony, copper, nickel, bauxite, lead, phosphates[?], zinc, silver

Land use:
arable land: 13%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 22%
forests and woodland: 50%
other: 15% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 200 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: recurring droughts

Environment - current issues: recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban

Geography - note: landlocked



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