Science et changements planétaires / Sécheresse


Inappropriate options of development in arid zones: consequences and alternatives, the case of Skhira and its area (Gulf of Gabes, Tunisia) Volume 20, issue 2, avril-mai-juin 2009


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Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines Département de géographie BP 553 3000 Sfax Tunisie, Laboratoire de recherche « Eau-Environnement-Énergie » ENI BP 1088 3018 Sfax Tunisie

The coast of Skhira (Gulf of Gabes) represents the frontage of a vast arid and marginal littoral area of more than 200 km, including nejd (plateau) region of Sidi M’hadheb and the dry valley of Ouadrane. Over the last decades, a program of development, led by the authorities, and in particular the installation of a phosphoric acid production industry on the littoral, has generated serious problems for the natural environment. We show in this study that the desired social repercussions of the development of these chemical industries as well as of irrigated cultures recently introduced into the nejd of Sidi M’hadheb are far from satisfying. The initial euphoria created by these socio-economic changes over the first few years has thus changed to disillusion, leading the young to emigrate. Today more than ever it is essential, to choose a new form of development for the Skhira area. In this respect, we will show that the proximity of two natural reserves, both of which are situated at less than 20 km, could constitute definite assets in elaborating new development based on ecotourism and camel breeding.