Evaluation of Forest Cover Changes of Elmigrih Forest Reserve in Elrahad Area

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Abo Algasim, Albager
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The present study was carried out at Elmigrih Forest Reserved in Elrahad Area, Gadarif State to evaluate the forest cover changes as a result in management interactions and communities’ interference. The data collected was based on remote sensing images for the years 1987, 2000 and 2008 in addition to interviews with relevant actors and archive records. Analyses were carried out using several programs corresponding to the type of information. The satellite images analyses were developed using ERADS program to illustrate the forest cover changes that occurred over the specified period and to develop categories of land use types and their dynamic changes. The social information was analyzed using SPSS program to determine the impact of communities on the forest changes. The results showed that high rates of forest clearance and removal of trees occurred during the period 1987 – 2008 as a result of agriculture encroachment resulting in forest conversion to bare lands and scattered trees. Although tree planting was continuous during the period 1994 – 2008, the remote sensing images indicated that gaps were created resulting in discrepancies between recorded and actual areas. Records updating has been shown to become necessary. The impact of the people living inside the forest was reflected in creation of such gaps in addition to forests conversion to agricultural use. The consumption of wood fuel represents 70% of the fuel used and was obtained from the forest. The majority of the population is landless and they rely on the clearing areas inside the forest for agricultural use. The results indicated that the dynamic changes in forest cover were related to agricultural land changes in inverse proportion. Lack of sound management and monitoring of the forest cover may result in unreliable records. That has been demonstrated by the differences in areas of forest plantation based on plantation record and areas obtained by satellite images and ground inventory. Application of the latter two methods gave compatible results while the record showed different values. The study recommended that the forest should be managed by effective management approach based on successive inventories and remote sensing applications in order to attain sustainable development and conservation of the forest. Also the study recommended development of a strategy to involve the local people in the forest management on collaborative approach to attain mutual benefits.
79 page