Forestry may not be the first thing that come to mind, but the rainfed belt in Sudan offers ideal conditions for many dryland tree species. Acacia Senegal is one of Sudan’s most important tree species because of its use in the production of gum Arabic.

According to the U.N. FAO, 29.4% or about 69,949,000 ha of Sudan is forested, according to FAO. Of this 20.0% is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest. Sudan had 6,068,000 ha of planted forest.

South Kordofan accounts for more than a third of Sudan’s total tree cover; almost 51 per cent of the state is planted with trees. The low coverage in Blue Nile, Kassala, White Nile and Gedaref states is mainly due to the vast expansion of semi-mechanized farming. Sennar state’s more extensive coverage is due to Dinder National Park, the largest reserved area in the country.

Sudan has 17 million feddans or 714 km2 of protected forest reserves. Most of the reserves are in West Darfur, South Darfur, Gedaref, Blue Nile and White Nile states. 70.2 per cent of the country’s forests are owned by the government and managed by Forests National Corporation. Gum arabic producers own 28.2 per cent, while 0.2 per cent are owned by individuals. Forests registered under community names and private companies represent 0.8 and 0.6 per cent respectively.

Sudan possesses a huge experience in plantation establishment and management which goes back to the middle of the 20th century. Management is based on working plan systems, where acacias, teak, softwoods, and eucalypts are well controlled in a sustainable system that maintains a steady flow of goods and services at national and community levels. Still, the small area of plantations does not fulfil the goals to satisfy the demand for forest products.

The multiple use management policy recently adopted by the Forests National Corporation (FNC) is meant to combine sustainable system enhanced by good planning and linked to an effective revenue generation approach. For instance, forest resources conservation and agroforestry and be combined with and a sustainable silviculture and livestock raising. The FNC has earmarked millions of hectares for afforestation projects.