The principal aim of this study was to assess the degree of environmental degradation and its impact on the lives of local people living in and around natural forests in Gedaref State in eastern Sudan. The study was conducted among large mechanized scheme farmers, smallholder farmers and collaborative reserve farmers. In a cross-sectional survey, a total of 162 farmers were interviewed using questionnaire and Participatory Learning & Action methodology. Cross tabulations of selected variables were produced as a precursor to conducting tests of significant internal differences between different variables among the three categories of respondents based on land ownership type. The differences between three groups of farmers were analysed with chi-square test. This study concluded that the pilot work of collaborative management in the Elrawashda natural forest reserve, involving partnership between the local communities and the government in an integrated forestry and agriculture, indicates the possibility of compatible consistent and sustainable resource management in the drylands of Sudan.