Causes and Impacts of Land Degradation and Desertification: Case Study of the Sudan

Omar Ali Abdi, Edinam K. Glover, Olavi Luukkanen
Published 2013

Desertification, a phenomenon referring to land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions as a result of climatic variations and human activities, is considered as one of the most severe environmental and socio-economic problems o f recent times. The p rincipal aim o f th is study was to exp lore the impacts of desertification, degradation and drought on both the natural resources and man’s livelihood in the Sudan and to suggest appropriate forest resource management interventions. The study was based on a fact finding tour in the Sudan and data collection on drought trends as reflected in rainfall trends in the study area, and on trends concerning the productivity of natural resources. Information was also comp iled fro m existing records on rainfall, forest land cover, forest stocking, rangelands and carrying capacity and on agricultural p roductivity and population trends. Results showed that in rain-fed agricultural zones in the Sudan, deep ploughing and leveling of the surface soil caused an increase in its susceptibility to wind erosion, wh ich, in turn, has led to a severe decline in its fertility and, in some places, the formation of sand dunes. The implications of these trends on the natural resource base include environmental degradation, food insecurity and aggravation of inco me inequalit ies among the Sudanese producers. The study has suggested Agroforestry technology as a potential solution to this continued problem of declining ru ral ag ricu ltural production in the Sudan.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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