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The Impact of Man on Semi-Desert Vegetation in the Sudan

R. Halwagy
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 50, No. 2 (Jul., 1962), pp. 263-273
DOI: 10.2307/2257444
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2257444
Page Count: 12
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The Impact of Man on Semi-Desert Vegetation in the Sudan
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Abstract

Man's impact on vegetation becomes more marked in arid regions than under the better-known more humid conditions of northern Europe. In the semi-desert of northern Sudan, when the vegetation is partially or wholly destroyed through human or animal interference, it can only be replaced by regeneration during the following short rainy season of unreliable rains. The salient features of desert scrub of northern Sudan and a note on the livestock population and grazing habits are given. Quantitative estimates were made of the vegetation inside and outside a fenced enclosure. The effect of interference near villages is compared with that away from them. The present survey shows that shrubs outside the enclosure are intensively browsed, those near the villages more severely so, while shrubs away from villages are subject to felling as well. The perennial grass element is also grazed outside the enclosure so that its height is greatly reduced. Annual grasses receive the heaviest brunt of the attack, being completely wiped out near villages while scattered, beaten-down remnants occur away from villages. The role played by this wanton destruction of vegetation by man and beast in creating desert conditions here and elsewhere is discussed. The need for protective measures and their bearing on the question of soil conservation is emphasized.

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