Background

As mentioned in Al massar''s mission statement, environmental is one of the key facets of sustainable development. Like most developing countries the Sudanese economy depends largely on agriculture.  70% of the economic active population of the country works in agriculture. 90% of them live in rural areas. Nomadic communities have a particularly close relationship with the environment.

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Nomads & Environment

Nomadic populations generally utilize pieces of land that are unsuitable for settled agriculture.  Seasonal migration is currently the only means of sustainable agriculture in large areas of Sudan, utilizing areas that are too dry in winter and too muddy and plagued by biting flies in summer, to support other forms of agriculture. However, the uses of these areas by nomads is a continuous balancing act, prone to upset by even small change.  The effect of climatic change and overstocking has recently threatened the future continuation of such trans-human systems.

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Desertification

The United Nations Convention to Combat  Desertification (UNCDD) defines "Desertification" as land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub humid areas resulting from various factor, including climatic variation and human activities.

“Desertification is caused almost entirely by human misuse of the environment. This misuse, which is not necessarily the result of ignorance, takes the form of felling trees to provide fuel, over grazing by domestic animals, and harmful agricultural practices" (Kebbed & Jacob, 1988).

Sudan can be divided into 7 ecological zones with rainfall varying from

Zero mm in the northern desert to 1300 mm in the high rainfall Savannah (Table 4). The desert and semi desert represent 51.5% out of the total area if we add to that the low rainfall Savannah zone the figure will jump to more than 80% (80.6%). This indicates that the problem of desertification and desert encroachment is a serious problem in the Sudan.

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Impact of Desertification

Drought and desertification have their impacts on soil, bio-diversity, forests and food security. Resulting in:

  • Soil degradation.
  • Wind Erosion.
  • Water Erosion.
  • Flooding.
  • Salinity & Alkalinity.
  • Reduction in Biodiversity.

These factors directly impact on a large proportion of land use of Sudan.

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Environmental Objectives

o   Al Massar has the following objectives regarding the environment:

o   To identify and understand the current problems affecting the environment.

o   Prevention and /or reduction of land degradation.

o   Rehabilitation of partly degraded land.

o   Reclamation of decertified land.

o   Foster Sustainable management of land and water resources.

o   Establishment of environmental early warning systems.