Study site location & description Print

The Zeuss Koutine study site is located just east of the city of Medinine in Tunisia.


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This site is located between the Jeffara plain and Matmata mountains which are considered among the main socio-agro-ecological zones of the country where the problems of land degradation and desertification are active (NAP, 1998). However, many projects and experiences have been launched in the site at all levels: research, development, environment, etc.


In this region, the traditional production systems combined a concentration of production means on limited areas and the extensive exploitation of pastoral resources in the major zone. However, during the last forty years, rapid and remarkable evolutions of these production systems and natural resource exploitation increased with the exploitation of groundwater aquifers by drillings, for the development of irrigated crops and industry, and fast extension of fruit trees orchards at the expense of natural grazing lands after the privatization of collective tribal lands. In this context, the spatial agrarian system complementarily disappeared and replaced with other interconnected and adjacent production systems. Those systems are marked by a competition for the access to the natural resources, especially for land ownership and water use (Jeffara, 2001; Sghaier et al., 2003). Huge works for soil and water conservation and rangelands rehabilitation have been implemented since the independence whose immediate effects are visible but their efficiency on the short and long terms has not yet been assessed and evaluated in details.


In addition, many research for development projects, funded by national and international organizations, undertaken by IRA and its partners have been implemented in the region: Parcours Sud (1990-1994), WAHIA (1998-2002), MEDRATE (2000-2003), JEFFARA (2001-2004), SUMAMAD (2004-2007) DESURVEY (2005-20009).


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