Acacia albida and other multipurpose trees on the fur farmlands in the Jebel Marra highlands, western Darfur, Sudan

TitleAcacia albida and other multipurpose trees on the fur farmlands in the Jebel Marra highlands, western Darfur, Sudan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1986
AuthorsMiehe, S
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Date Published06/1986
KeywordsAcacia albida; agroforestry; agrosilvopasture; Cordia abyssinica; fur practices; Jebel Marra; Sudan; tropical highlands; Ziziphus spina-christi

This paper describes the traditional agroforestry systems based on Acacia albida and other multipurpose trees as practiced by the sedentary Fur people on the lower slopes and highlands of the Jebel Marra massif, Sudan. The basic agrosilvopastoral system consists of terraced village fields, where semipermanent rainfed cropping of staple millet and other subsistence crops takes place under stands of multipurpose trees dominated by Acacia albida, Cordia abyssinica and Ziziphus spina-christi. Trees have been retained primarily for food, wood and fodder. Thorn from cut and browsed branches makes a good fencing material.

This system has been able to sustain self-sufficiency of a densely settled population over centuries. However, recent out-migration of people from the montane dry-farming areas has caused gradual return to shifting cultivation. As a consequence, the present-day subsistence farming in the region is characterized by a general level of carelessness and exploitative management and this is reflected in a successive decrease of the tree cover.

The evaluation of the AF practices described includes a discussion on their regional importance and extrapolability within the framework of similar situations, especially in Africa, emphasis being given to mountain and highland conditions. The outstanding potential for Acacia albida-based AF systems to be sustained and spread almost all over semiarid to semihumid Africa is highlighted by illustrating its ecologic and economic variability. Extrapolation of such examples, however, is not feasible, without thorough feasibility studies concerning the ecologic, ethnologic and socio- economic conditions in the respective project areas. Basic research needs for improving and extending the system are also indicated.

Journal Abbreviation

Agroforest Syst


0167-4366; 1572-9680

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