Community forests

Regenerating vegetation cover in Darfur

North Darfur state is located in an arid and semi arid zone, average rainfall is 600mm, and the region was subjected to billows of drought. The conflict in Darfur which started in 2003 had caused huge displacement the result of which has been destruction and complete deterioration of the environment. At the same time the central nursery of Elfasher, the only place for seedlings production had been destroyed completely by the internally displaced people; the vegetation cover has been uprooted, which has led to desertification, dust storms, a rise in temperature and reduced rainfall. All of these factors have negative impacts on live stock, human beings and agricultural production.

Planting seedlings in a community forest, Majdoub village - North DarfurLand degradation and depletion of vegetation cover in Elfasher rural areas, are the problems that Practical Action has been working on for several years, with the aim of regeneration of vegetation cover, rehabilitation of gum Arabic belt, protection of villages, rangeland and farming land from desertification. The following are achievements done by Practical Action in collaboration with Nation Forest Corporation at state level:

  • Rehabilitation of the central nursery of Elfasher town
  • Production of 700,000 seedlings of different tree species in three years time (2006- 2008)
  • Seed treatment and germination test
  • With community participation, growing trees around water sources, villages, schools and camps
  • Raise people's awareness toward environmental conservation and training of the community in how establish community forest
  • Establishment of four community forests.

How the dream of community forest became reality

Majdoub (A) village council (VC), is composed of three villages, 29Km west of Elfasher town, has population of about 1700. People depend on rain fed farming and small ruminant herding for their livelihood. This area is threatened by desertification; clear evidence is the disappearance of indigenous trees such as acacia Senegal and dominant of toxic trees like Calotorphus procera.

Members of Majdoub village committee visited Practical Action's office in Elfasher and invited me to attend Nafir work for construction of the village primary school and requesting seedlings to be transplanted around the school as green fencing. Practical Action had responded community appeal. Following a great community mobilization work has been carried out to raise environmental awareness and importance of trees among the community members. Further more, over 200 men and women received training in how to transplant the seedlings.

The result was establishment of community forest in Jokhmar village. An area around 5 feddans has been planted with 3,700 seedlings of different trees all the community member have participated, women and men, school teacher, pupils" boys & girls and native administration. The community allocated land for the forest and constructed the fence. The current situation of the forest that the trees are 160 cm high.

The variety of the trees that have bee cultivated were 17 varieties; Moringa oleifera, Azadrichta indica, Khay senegalensis, Adasonia digitata, Acacia melifera, Acacia Senegal, Acacia tortilis, Dodonea fiscosa, Ziziphus pina christ, Salvadora persica, Cassia fistula, Albiza lebbeka, Eucalyptus citriodora, Eucalyptus camadulensis, Grewia tenax, Pitheocolobium daluce, and Adonix regia.

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This article first appeared in the April 2009 issue of Sharing, Practical Action Sudan's newsletter.
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An earlier article on community forests appeared in the January 2008 issue.

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