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Management and Conservation

The National Genes' Bank (BNG)

The creation of national gene bank is a major national achievement in the field of the protection of genetic resources.

This establishment was established by Decree No. 1748 of August 11, 2003. This institution became operational from the end of 2007.
The decree laying down scientific, administrative and financial of the national gene bank, was published on 29 January 2007.

The national gene bank includes scientific laboratories to study genetic resources, cold rooms that can keep up to 200,000 accessions.
The BNG is equipped with new clusters (cereals and grain legumes, fodder plants; fruit trees, vegetables, condiments and floral crops, forestry and pastoral plants; medicinal and aromatic plants; microorganisms; marine genetic resources and ornamentals).

These structures are likely to consolidate the practical measures to preserve, develop and enhance genetic resources, to verify its origin, to reintroduce extinct species, strengthen national capacities, to achieve complementarity between different scientific institutions and public institutions operating in this field and to organize and define the mechanisms of exchange and trade of genetic resources.

Since its inception the BNG conducted several collection surveys, local genetic resources repatriation requests held in gene banks and international institutions etc. She was able to keep until the end of 2013 more than 30,000 accessions. To date the cluster cereals and grain legumes has allowed since 2007 the collection, the repatriation, the characterization and conservation of 11,759 accessions cereal (hard wheat, soft wheat and barley).
The BNG also coordinates actions of participative preservation of local genetic resources of durum wheat by more than 50 farmers.

Thematic programs

Currently there are seven thematic programs adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (Agriculture DB, forestry DB, marine and coastal DB, mountain DB, arid and sub-humid comic’s inland waters and island DB).
For more information …

Agricultural biodiversity

The great actions in the agricultural sector that have a direct impact on biodiversity are essentially the following:

  • The creation of the gene bank;
  • The design and implementation of national agricultural map;
  • The Integrated Rural Development program IRDP;
  • The Integrated projects for agricultural development and natural resource management.
  • The creation program of Botanic Gardens;

Forest Biological Diversity and mountains

Various projects were conducted as part of the forestry strategy. We can mention the projects:

  • Forestry Development Projects PDFI, PDFII. ;
  • Project integrated forest management FGIF ;
  • Project to support the sustainable management of forest ecosystems GEF / GTZ development of forest areas PDZF;
  • The implementation of pilot operations of integrated development (IPOID)
  • The implementation of the mountainous areas of the North West Development Activities (PDZM) ;

Biological diversity of inland water

Respect to promote the biodiversity in the dams the General Direction of Fisheries has implemented and developed aquaculture in dams where she introduced new species of fish including the Tilapia. A monitoring system of water and species is applied with continuous controls and specific interventions to safeguard biodiversity in these mini ecosystems.

Regarding the Conservation of Water and Soil, a national strategy 2002-2011 was introduced. It has the following objectives: reducing soil loss, the development of the use of surface water used for agricultural development, reducing siltation of dams to extend their operating lives.
In order to, the strategy provides for the development of 700,000 hectares of watersheds; the creation of 1,000 units of small lakes, 4,500 units of recharge facilities tablecloths and spreading, 5500 development works and correction of water and 1,500 hectares reserved lanes to the traditional techniques of gathering water. Note that this strategy is being updated by the services of the DGACTA.

Affecting wetlands in Tunisia, many accomplishments have been achieved in the framework of the national strategy and Action Plan for biodiversity in inland waters. We can remember most of all:

  • The realization of a preliminary inventory of Tunisian wetlands
  • The start of the first instalment of the national program of rehabilitation and enhancement of coastal sebkhats (Ariana, Sejoumi, Kelibia, Soliman, Mahdia, Ben Ghiadha, Moknine and Korba).
  • The restoration of the hydro-biological balance of the Ichkeul lake by the intake of water from the dam Oued Joumine and the implementation of a development project Ichkeul in the Protected Areas Management Project (PGAP) executed by the MEDD in collaboration with the GEF and the World Bank (2002-2008).
  • The project of rehabilation of Lac Chikly (important bird sanctuary)
  • The implementation of the Med Cost Web project by APAL in the area of Cap Bon (development of Cap Bon Sebkhas, support to NGOs, sanitation, etc.).
  • The inscription of 40 RAMSAR sites (and the development of legislative and institutional aspects to promote other sites) ( ).
  • The execution of the project for the protection biodiversity dams and lakes implemented by the Directorate General of dams and large hydraulic works and Bird Friends Association. This project primarily targets the census of living species and the establishment of mechanisms to protect them in an appropriate legal framework.

Furthermore, Wetlands Management Strategy is currently under preparation by the services of the Ministry of the Environment (ANPE).

Biodiversity Marine, Coast and islands

Tunisia has 1,600 km of coastline (including islands), characterized by large diversified natural resources with 60 islands of various sizes and 100 coastal wetlands. Tunisian coastal zone is an area of concentration of economic and human activities (69.2% of the total population). The conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use establish a National challenge.
Tunisia has several marine and coastal protected areas:

  • The Zembra and Zembretta Islands, biosphere reserves, ASPIM;
  • Galite and Galiton, nature reserves;
  • The archipelago of the islands Knaeïss, nature reserve, ASPIM;
  • The Islet Chikly;
  • The Kuriat islands;
  • The Kerkennah island ecosystem.

The creation of the Agency for the Protection and Development of the Littoral (APAL) within the MEDD (1995) helped to promote the study of these areas in order to develop the implementation of the various plans of coastal protection measures ; and this on the following vectors:

  • The executive of a program of management integrated by the coastal zones of which we can mention:
    • The elaboration of management diagrams for 18 natural coastal areas;
    • The elaboration of plans for the occupation of the beaches (rationalization of the operation and management of 27 beaches);
  • The studies of perimeters of protection of the littoral sensitive zones by the land control;
  • The fight against marine pollution.
  • The project of resource protection marine and coastal of the gulf of Gabès (2005/2009); of big interest, it aims especially at the development of planning schemes of urban areas and sensitive zones around, in particular:
    • The Lagoon of El Bibane: It includes unique henthiques training in the Mediterranean.
    • The Gulf of Boughrara it has exceptional bird in a threatened area by tourism activities;
    • The Kneiss islands: it is a rich birdlife site; it enjoys the status ASPIM;
    • Kerkennah Islands off Sfax: This site contains an important bird; it is bordered by a single Posidonia seagrass in the Mediterranean, the Herbarium Tigray;
    • The oasis of Gabes: this is the last coastal oasis of the Western Mediterranean; it is threatened by the expansion of agriculture, urbanization and livestock.

The objective of the project is to provide a better economic development based on proper management of marine and coastal resources. In addition to studies and management plans, significant steps are taken in the field of exploitation of fisheries resources. One can distinguish: A measures of mitigation of the fishing at the rate of 20 % in the south zone , over-exploited:

  • The intensification of marine protection measures in the Gulf of Gabes (remediation project of the Sea of phosphogypsum)
  • The installation of artificial reefs along the coast to protect the nesting areas and to form nurseries order to preserve the fishery resources (Herbarium of prosxidonies of Kelibia, the benches of Maamoura / Korba, the polygon of Sousse/ Monastir Kuriat). The same measure has been adopted for the Gulf of Tunis Carthage Cap, Farina Cap, the polygon cap Zebib/ Cani/ farina cap, the barrier reef of Sidi Rais, Ras Fortas polygon/ Ras Lahmar/ Cap Bon and three Gulf sites of Gabes: South Kerkennah, Borj Djilidj (West Djerna) and Ras Tourgueness (East Jerba).
  • The protection of the sea in Sfax and development of the coastal area as part of the project Taparoura (2006/2009).

Furthermore, studies and implementation of conservation projects, much research has been carried out to identify the components of marine and coastal ecosystems, including INSTM: those of the coralligenous biocenosis (calcareous concretions coralline algae and shade-tolerant), the seagrass to Posidonia (endemic to the Mediterranean a phanerogam), the isolated banks (flora and fauna aggregation around of large marine rocks) the forests Gystoseries (16 species distributed in the marine environment) and finally island ecosystems.

The biological diversity of drylands and sub-humid:

Tunisia is characterized by agro-ecological features a particularly complex and constraining. They are realized by relatively low rainfall over most of the territory (nearly 94% of the areas fall within semi-arid bioclimatic zones, arid and desert) and a fragile soil, mostly pronounced in the center and south of the country. The study on desertification, conducted on 10.62 million hectares, demonstrated that this whole area is threatened by desertification to different degrees (PAN 1998):

  • 11.7% of areas are affected by desertification (1.25 million hectares);
  • 39.7% of the areas are moderately affected (4.22 million hectares);
  • 17.2% of the areas are little affected (1.82 million hectares);
  • 31.4% of areas are deserted (3.3 million hectares).

We estimate the equivalent in grounds lost in approximately 8000 - 10 000 hectares per year. This is to deal with this degradation that the fight against desertification was considered a priority action in Tunisia. Indeed, several activities were conducted to conserve natural resources, reduce soil loss and save the areas affected by desertification.

Cross-cutting themes

The convention has put several intersectoral programs and initiatives that affect several thematic aspects. The following is a description of a few programs:

Studies and Projects

Several studies, programs and projects were carried out relating to the management and conservation of biodiversity. The following are links to some references (not exhaustive):