Improved forest resource management for combating desertification in Sudano-Sahelian Africa

Improved forest resource management for combating desertification in Sudano-Sahelian Africa (IFREMA) (2002-2004)


Project leader: Prof. Olavi Luukkanen
Senior researcher: Dr Mohamed Ahmed Elfadl
Collaborating partners: University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Ecology / VITRI; University of Khartoum, Faculty of Forestry; Forests National Corporation (FNC) & Forestry Research Centre, Khartoum.
Post-graduate researchers: Mohamed El Mukhtar Ballal, Mohamed Abdalla Gaafar, Eddie Glover, Elamin Raddad, Anu Eskonheimo, Sakina Elshibli, Sawsan Abdalla, Matti Oksanen and Kurt Walter
Financing: Academy of Finland
Period: 2002-2004


Agroforestry systems as traditionally practiced on sandy soils west of the White Nile (where the
gum acacia occurs naturally) were compared with newly introduced practices in the clay plain
surrounding the Blue Nile. In Sudan, there is a trend to increase the area of gum gardens because of the economic and potential environmental benefits involved, but agroforestry management has not been sufficiently researched in the new global and national context.

Farmers’ perceptions related to trees and forestry, as well as participatory planning methodologies were also studied in Gedaref State in the Blue Nile region where the government is introducing and testing new community-based natural resource management models. Long practised sandy-soil agroforestry and gum production had earlier yielded an extensive database on factors controlling the yields of gum and associated field crops, but there existed no previous comprehensive scientific analysis of the situation.

Another line of research included comparisons of early performance among different acacia seed sources, so as to clarify the genetic variation and provide new, higher-yielding acacia genotypes for cultivation on different types of soils. Furthermore, at two selected sites, an environmental-economic analysis was carried out on the alien, potentially invasive tree species Prosopis juliflora, particularly comparing its impact on farmlands on sandy and clay soils. Additional separate financing also allowed two more studies, on women as natural resource managers, and on improvement of date palm management using biotechnology tools.

Master and doctoral theses projects

  • Ballal, M.E. 2002. Yield trends of gum arabic from Acacia senegal in relation to some environmental and managerial factors. Ph.D. thesis. University of Khartoum, the Sudan.
  • Oksanen, M. 2002. Prosopis juliflora: natural regeneration and economic implications of an introduced species tree species in the Tendelti area, Central Sudan. M.Sc. Thesis.
  • Sawsan, A.A. 2003. Early Establishment of Acacia senegal (L.) Willd (some provenances and from bulk seeds) in sandy soils. M.Sc. Thesis.
  • Walter, K. 2004. Prosopis juliflora: Effects of an introduced tree species on livelihood strategies in the New Halfa Agricultural Scheme, Sudan. M.Sc. Thesis.


Ballal, M. E., El Siddig, E.A., Elfadl, M. A. and Luukkanen, O. 2004. Gum arabic yield in differently managed Acacia senegal stands in Western Sudan. Agroforestry Systems 00:1-9. Abstract

Ballal, M.E., El Siddig, E.A., Elfadl, M.A. & Luukkanen, O. 2005. Relationship between environmental factors, tapping dates, tapping intensity and gum arabic yield of an Acacia senegal plantation in western Sudan. Journal of Arid Environment. Abstract

Elfadl, M.A. and Luukkanen, O. 2003. Effect of pruning on Prosopis juliflora: considerations for tropical dryland agroforestry. Journal of Arid Environments 53: 441- 455. Abstract

Elfadl, M.A. & Luukkanen, O. 2004. Integrated Acacia senegal-based agroforestry for sustainable agriculture and rehabilitation of degraded systems. A paper in proceedings of ICRISAT Symposium on Sustainable Dryland Agricultural Systems. Niamy, Niger.

Sawsan, A.A., Elhouri, A.A. & Elfadl, M.A. 2004. Some Physicochemical characteristics of gum from eight provenances of Acacia senegal in the Sudan. Sudan Silva.

Links to other related projects