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Flora of the Sudan
Sustainable tropical forest management
Dryland management
A balanced tropical environment

Flora of the Sudan

Trees and shrubs of the Sudan. Hamza Mohamed El Amin Exeter, UK, Ithaca Press. 1990

Trees & shrubs of the Sudan

This conveniently sized and well-produced publication is an important contribution to our knowledge of the trees and shrubs of the Sudan and of several other countries in East Africa and parts of West Africa. Previously, Sudanese foresters have had to rely on the complete, but out of print, Flora of the Sudan (Brown and Massey, 1929) or The flowering plants of the Sudan (Andrews, 1950, 1952, 1956).

Trees and shrubs of the Sudan, based on a 1980 Ph.D. thesis, was considerably edited and updated after the author's death in 1985 by Dr Ekhlas Abdel Bari of the Department of Botany, University of Khartoum. She merits great credit for making this work available to a wider readership.

The book is illustrated with excellent botanical drawings of leaves and flowers by the author, which unfortunately lack scales; their relative size must be deduced from the descriptions. Hutchinson's classification is followed, but there is no key to the genera, although once the genus has been identified it is easy to determine the species either through the descriptions of the keys for the larger genera. Exotic species are also included.

In summary, this book can be strongly recommended to foresters in the Sudan and as a source book for libraries with collections on arid zone flora. It is hoped that it will not be long before the publication is revised and expanded to include local names and synonyms and, if possible, notes on uses of the individual species.

J. Ball and El Tigani Satti
El Mahdi

Sustainable tropical forest management

Guidelines for the sustainable management of natural tropical forests. International Tropical Timber Organization. Technical Series. 1990

The mandate of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), set up to service the International Tropical Timber Agreement, includes, inter alia, the promotion of research and development, with special reference to reforestation; forest management; wood utilization; and marketing. Within the framework of its Committee on Reforestation and Forest Management, the ITTO has produced Guidelines for the sustainable management of natural tropical forests.

The Guidelines provide a checklist of considerations and basic principles for general policy and forestry operations in relation to the sustainable management of natural forests. The intention is for the general framework to be adapted at national and subnational levels and for more specific guidelines that are compatible with regional and local conditions to be elaborated by national institutions and agencies. The development, application and enforcement of national guidelines based on or compatible with the stated international standards are thus makers for national decision by individual timber-producing countries.

As stated in the foreword of the Guidelines, the challenge lies in the translation of these guidelines into national codes of conduct and practices, as well as in their wide-scale application.

This will require a massive awareness campaign to rally the genuine political will to manage tropical forests on a sustainable basis for the benefit of present and future generations; to involve local people in the decision-making process; and to increase research efforts and the implementation of research results to help in the improvement of forest management practices on a continuing basis.

C. Palmberg-Lerche

Dryland management

The economics of dryland management and Dryland management economic case studies. John A Dixon, David E. James and Paul B. Sherman London, Earthscan Publications, Ltd. 1990

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Australia and the East-West Center launched what is known as the Dry Land Project in 1985. The major rationale of the project was based on the assumption that an economic approach is indispensable to successfully translate action plans into policies, programmes and projects that will win the support of national governments and funding agencies, and to provide the incentive to deal more effectively with the challenges of dryland management.

The three major objectives of the project were: i) to focus attention on better economic assessment of dryland degradation and rehabilitation and on its role in decision making; ii) to pursue the problem within the context of overall development planning; and iii) to demonstrate how the techniques of economic analysis can be used to guide the design and implementation of policies, programmes, projects and land management practices to prevent, arrest or reverse the processes of dryland degradation. With these publications, the authors and project sponsors put the final touches to the implementation of the project.

The first book of our review, The economics of dryland management, leads the reader (the target audience includes project analysts, economists, planners and programme development officers) in a very progressive démarche from the study of the dryland problem to more integrative levels relating to models for dryland development planning and the implementation of policies, programmes and projects. Also included is a case-study relating to benefit-cost analysis of soil conservation in Maphutseng, Lesotho.

The first two chapters set the stage by defining drylands, their characteristics (physical and biological) and the degradation processes associated with various land uses. Social and institutional factors are also considered. The role of public policy in dryland development and management is examined in Chapter 3; it looks at alternative policies and their design, and highlights social, cultural and institutional factors; the potential benefits of economic analysis; and the importance of local populations being involved. Demographic dynamics, and particularly the role of birth control, are seen by the authors as probably the most effective policy to halt dryland degradation. In all cases, policies should involve community participation, be attractive to users, be locally feasible (requiring minimum imports) and ensure sustainability.

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are central as they treat the tools of economic support to dryland management. Chapter 4 deals with general economic principles and techniques of analysis; Chapter 5 proposes the management of drylands as a renewable economic resource; and Chapter 6 sets out methods of economic appraisal of investments in dryland programmes and projects.

Chapter 7 considers the valuation of on-site and off-site effects of dryland degradation and/or management. A very interesting Chapter 8 looks at risks and uncertainties in dryland development and management. Models for dryland development planning are the object of the highly theoretical Chapter 9. This chapter also sheds useful light on the interface of use and misuse of natural resources and national accounting. National accounting tends to ignore the flow of environmental and natural resources, as all entries are made in monetary terms. To mitigate this shortcoming, the approach to national resources accounting is very useful. Chapter 10, Implementation of policies, programmes and projects, addresses very practical issues such as reporting and presenting results to decision-makers; implementation incentives and their selection; and social and cultural constraints to the implementation and management of programmes and projects.

The Economics of dryland management makes relatively easy reading even for non economists, as all the basic concepts are systematically introduced and illustrated and are accompanied by many boxes and figures.

The second book, Dryland management: economic case-studies is a companion publication and features 20 case-studies grouped in seven chapters: Land improvement techniques; Farm practices; Rangeland management; Improvement programmes at the village level; Environmental management at the regional level; Damage cost studies; and Macroglobal studies. Africa, Asia and Australia are well covered but it is unfortunate that none of the case-studies is set in Latin America, thereby ignoring the importance of drylands in Brazil, Chile, Argentina as well as land degradation problems in parts of the Caribbean. Nonetheless, both books are essential reading for anyone dealing with dryland management; they provide an insight, information and methodologies for looking at the major issues of dryland conservation, management and development.

E.H. Sène

A balanced tropical environment

The tropical garden city: its creation and maintenance. Salleh Mohd Nor, Wong Yew Kwan and F.S.P. Ng. Malayan Forest Record, No. 33. Kuala Lumpur, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia. 1990.

The tropical garden city

As set out in the foreword, the message of this book is that, with planning and civic action, cities can be transformed into gardens so that people can live and work in a balanced and healthy environment. Taking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore as the main examples, the authors show types of action that can be followed for the "greening" of other tropical cities.

This beautifully illustrated book contains technically sound and practical advice, given in seven chapters: Parks and their creation; The greening of roads; Planting practices; Maintenance practices; Turfing and turf management; Nursery practices; Parks administration.

The tropical garden city draws attention to a problem which, until recently, did not receive the attention it deserved, especially in cities and towns in developing countries.

C. Palmberg-Lerche

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