Conservation of Wetlands on Tunisian Islands: Kerkennah and Kuriat Islands as a Case Study
Mediterranean islands’ wetlands have a crucial role in protecting not only the islands of the region from the effects of climate change and natural hazards, but also a wide range of endangered and endemic wildlife species, including a significant number of migratory birds. Islands’ wetlands have highly dynamic changing ecosystems due to the effects of isolation and the anthropogenic perturbations that put these natural systems in a major distress and threaten their well-functioning and existence. Thus, these areas are one of the world’s most threatened ones. Therefore, it is important to know, understand and monitor the changes within them to better understand the ecosystem and habitats dynamics. Through the Mediterranean Islands’ Wetlands project, a methodology has been developed by the WWF Greece and disseminated to 9 Mediterranean countries in order to inventory more than 14,000 Mediterranean islands’ wetlands located on 160 islands. In this project, Google earth’s satellite images, national land use geo-databases with previous inventories’ output were combined to identify, delineate and document possible wetlands. Together with in situ field inventory, these findings were used to better understand the evolution and changes in the systems and create a scientific database for all islands’ wetlands. The aim of this study was to apply this methodology to the Tunisian islands’ wetlands focusing on the significant number of wetlands that were identified in Kerkennah and Kuriat islands. This study showed the importance of building a scientific database to better understand the identified areas, and monitor their evolution in order to set up restoration and conservation strategies.
KeywordsKerkennah archipelago Kuriat islands Wetlands Salt marsh Sebkhas Inventory Satellite images Degradation
This work would not have been possible without the funding of the “MAVA foundation pour la Nature”, so special thanks should be given to all members of the Foundation for their constant support.
Many thanks should also be given to all WWF North Africa and WWF Greece staff members and those with whom we have had the pleasure to work during this project.
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