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Special Session of the General Assembly to Review and Appraise
the Implementation of Agenda 21

New York, 23-27 June 1997


SOS Sahel Community Forestry Project
Location Villages on the left and right banks of the Nile, near Ed Debba, Northern Province, Sudan.
Responsible organization(s) SOS Sahel in close cooperation with the Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture and the Forestry Department (FNC).
Description Several of the highly fertile areas along this stretch of the river are being gradually buried by desert sand. Mobile dunes creep forward onto cultivated land, and windblown sand damages crops and machinery, fills wells and canals and buries houses. The process of desert encroachment has been exacerbated by tree cutting, overgrazing and the control of river flooding. The project has enabled people to grow shelterbelts and windbreaks and to stabilize mobile dunes in order to protect farmland and homes; and has demonstrated to communities that they can help themselves to protect their environment. As rainfall in the area is negligible, all planting is at first reliant on irrigation. Deep-rooting species such as Mesquite (prosopic chilensis) which can tap the Nile's groundwater can be established after 8 months to 2 years of watering. Farmers are asked to provide their own irrigation wherever possible.
Issues addressed Land restoration, agriculture, water management.
Objectives Combatting desertification.
Results achieved * Raised awareness on the benefits of trees among all sectors of the community: farmers, women and schoolchildren and others to the causes and effects of sand encroachment;
* Constructed village nurseries with a total capacity of 53,000 seedlings as well as at least 500 "extension" nurseries in peoples' own homes. Women have been especially successful in producing seedlings suitable for shelterbelts, shade and fruit.
* Planted 53 Km of shelterbelts, with survival rates at planting sites of 85%, providing long term benefits, requiring minimum of upkeep and improving microclimate for crop growth.
Lessons learned The experience of participatory extension techniques will be valuable input for future work. Farmers are bringing new areas into cultivation by planting shelterbelts on the edge of the dunes and protecting and valuing what has been achieved so that the effects of the project will last beyond its duration.
Following the success of the first phase, villagers from outside the original project area approached the project for technical assistance, Phase 2 is providing support to these additional villages.
Financing Phase 1: IFAD, Rotary 3H
Phase 2: Dutch Government, IFAD
Contact UNEP, Dryland Ecosystems and Desertification Control Programme Activity Centre,
P.o.Box 30552 Nairobi, Kenya
Tel. (254 2) 623285
Fax (254 2) 623284

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Department of Economic and Social Affairs
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1 November 1997