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The conservation and development of Tunisian wetlands: A case study of grazing at Ichkeul

Ayache, Fethi; (1990) The conservation and development of Tunisian wetlands: A case study of grazing at Ichkeul. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is about the conservation of wetlands in Tunisia in line with the new thinking about sustainable development for renewable natural resource conservation. A review of development concepts revealed that the proposed sustainable development and "wise use" of wetlands have several limitations pertaining to their definition and means of application. It has also been shown that environmental degradation has been continuous throughout the history of Tunisia. Policies based on conventional economic development have further exacerbated this degradation after independence in 1956. A survey of the functions and values of Tunisian wetlands highlights their socio-economic and ecological importance, and gaps in knowledge. The functions and values of Ichkeul are taken as an illustration of wetland development and conservation in Tunisia. This case study highlights the low priority of conservation of wetlands in Tunisia and the significance of national development in the conservation of this wetland which has received national and international protection. The core of the thesis concentrates on the sustainable utilization of grazing on the marshes at the Ichkeul National Park. Exclosures were constructed to examine vegetation growth. A questionnaire and participant observation were used to describe the grazing cycle, evaluate the socio-economic importance of pastoralism and asess the reactions of the local people to the changes induced by development in the area. The evolution of the vegetation growth through the Net Above Primary Production (NAPP) and the ratio of fresh/dry weight vegetation accorded with the cycle of grazing as used by local people. This consisted on grazing on the mountains in winter and autumn; on the marshes in spring, late summer and early autumn; and on the harvested agricultural land in early summer. The contribution of income to the household budget was at least 60%. for 68% of the sampled population. Local people have a generally negative reaction to the development actions which have caused significant deterioration of the vegetation on the marshes. This information along with the literature review, allowed the formulation of five recommendations which were submitted to local people, local decision makers, central decision makers, Tunisian Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and international organisations (NGOs and others). The reaction to the recommendations permitted the evaluation of the proposals but more importantly showed that there is a lack of coordination at the central level; the ignorance of decision makers in Tunis about the local realities; an inadequate background of the manager of the Ichkeul National Park to understand the local people's role and needs; an overwelming importance of two leaders from the local community in decision making; the weakness of Tunisian NGOs in promoting conservation in Tunisia. These obstacles to sustainable grazing on the marshes have in turn allowed the formulation of four possible solutions at the level of the local community, local authority, central authority and Tunisian and international NGOs. Finally, building on the findings of the whole thesis a proposal for a "National Wetlands Policy" is outlined.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The conservation and development of Tunisian wetlands: A case study of grazing at Ichkeul
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences; Health and environmental sciences; Wetland conservation
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110170
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