The Importance of Trees and Forests for the Local Communities in Dry Lands of Sub-Saharan Africa

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ElSiddig, Elnour
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University of Khartoum
The relationships between people and their natural support systems, particularly trees and forests, in the drylands of Africa have been broken as a result of overuse. The people depend on the trees and forest resources for subsistence and income generation. Local communities are losing land and tree tenure and have limited access to valuable trees and forests that they used to have under previous customary systems. As a result, they are gradually losing also their traditional resource-based income generating systems. The forest products trade at the local markets is gradually expanding but the resources are declining. The problem may be more associated with management approaches and strategies, yet traditionally managed sustainable yield of trees, forests and grass lands as integrated with agriculture, is being negatively affected. Horizontal expansion is becoming the main approach for increasing crop production to meet increasing demand for food, income generation and export policy requirements. The result is wood removal exceeding sustainable production yield leading to forest and land degradation. Efforts to stop the process of land degradation have resulted in limited achievements but in much knowledge and experience that can facilitate designing suitable approaches to development.
Trees, Forests,Local Communities,Dry Lands,Saharan Africa