Wetlands in Africa play a fundamental role in supporting the human population by providing materials for the different economic sectors.
The Khor Abu Habil alluvial wetlands are a unique hydrological system in the semi-arid zone in the southern part of the Sudan. However, these were very fewely studied in the past. In this study we aim to understand the Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) classes related to agricultural activities. Our research is part of the FAO project RESSOURCE on wetlands of international importance in the Sahel region.
Material and Methods
A purely natural sciences framework is not sufficient while evaluating ecosystem services. To fill this information gap, socio-economic data were collected and merged with the biophysical data.
A questionnaire and semi-structured interviews, analyzing the agricultural activities and land uses, were run in the study area. Additionally, basic soil analysis and data on LULC were were undertaken.
Two main soil types were detected: the sandy soils along the wadi banks, and the clay soils in the wadi channels. Agricultural calendars were created based on these different soil types: the rain-fed agricultural calendar and the flood-depending agricultural calendar. They helped us to understand the annual changes in the LULC classes (agriculture, water, grassland etc.). This is a challenge for the creation of classical LULC maps.
The agricultural activities and the different LULC classes in a wadi are dynamic and vary over the year depending on the wadi flood waters. This characteristic distinguishes the Khor Abu Habil ecosystem from other ecosystems where LULCs classes remain stable most of the year. As Khor Abu Habil is one of the major Wadis in the Sudan, we assume that these characteristics of the LULC related to the agricultural cycles is similar to other wadis in the country and wadis as general, where agro-pastoral activities coexist.