Mulas, Maurizio and Bellavite, Davide and Lubino, Marcello and Belkheiri, Oumelkheir and Enne, Giuseppe (2012) Participatory approach for integrated development and management of North African marginal zones: demonstrative plan to fight desertification in Morocco and Tunisia. Italian Journal of Agronomy, Vol. 7 (4), e46. eISSN 2039-6805. Article.
A demonstrative and participatory development project on desertification mitigation and rural development has been launched in Northern Africa under SMAP Programme (Short and Medium-term priority environmental Action Programme) financed by the European Union. The project, which title is Demonstration Project on Strategies to Combat Desertification in Arid Lands with Direct Involvement of Local Agro-pastoral Communities in North Africa, is carried out in sensitive regions of Morocco and Tunisia with the coordination of the Nucleo Ricerca sulla Desertificazione (NRD, Desertification Research Center) of the University of Sassari (Italy) and the partnership of Morocco and Tunisia Agriculture Ministries. The areas concerned are located in regions characterised by rural poverty, food dependency and land abandoning where urgent measures are needed to promote optimisation of resource availability and management for a sustainable development. The project involves direct desertification mitigation by vegetation cover restoration, with drought resistant perennial forage species (Opuntia ficusindica, Atriplex nummularia and Acacia saligna) in highly degraded rangelands in order to mitigate desertification processes while improving rangelands productivity; and adopts measures for local population technical capacities building through training sessions related to all project activities, and making it a concrete demonstration supported by the direct involvement of local communities. Successful actions already carried out in this field by the participants of the project as well as by other Mediterranean countries, has been taken into account, re-elaborated and exploited, thus promoting south/south co-operation and exchange of knowledge. Participation of all actors and especially of local communities is the key point in all phases of the project and is strengthened by means of dissemination and sensitisation campaigns and by training courses. At the end of the project, all actors own/share all choices made and the technology used participating thus to the intervention sustainability.
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