Restoring coastal ecosystems to build coastal community resilience

“Role of soft techniques in mitigating the effects of climate change on the coast of the Island of Djerba”

5 juin 2021

For decades, the beach of Sidi Hachani Houmt Souk in Djerba island is considered as the most sought-after of coastal zone in summer in terms of establishment of human activities mainly nautical sports and tourism activities. Indeed, with the disappearance of natural dunes, the coastal zone is frequently eroded by marine waters through tidal channels that crisscross the shoreline and causes the flooding of tens of hectares of wetland and seriously destabilize the ecosystem and morphological balance of the lagoon.

UNDP Tunisia has made the resilience of coastal ecosystems one of its priority areas of intervention and continues to support the Tunisian Government to invest in coastal protection works against the coastal erosion to better adapt to Climate Change risks.

The project “Addressing climate change vulnerabilities and risks in vulnerable coastal areas of Tunisia”, implemented by the Coastal Protection and Planning Agency (APAL) in close collaboration with UNDP Tunisia and financed by The Global Environment Facility (GEF), confirmed through the feasibility study that the soft techniques used till today such as Ganivelles, Palmivelles, Replenishments, Geotextile stopper are efficient against erosion due to sea level rise and other climate risks.

As for the field measures, the project set up 0,9 Kilometer of Ganivelles (sand catchers’ fence) and 1,08 Kilometer of Palmivelles (palm tree leaf) at the beach of Sidi Hachani Houmt Souk in Djerba, the bottom of the arrow of Ras R'Mel. A monitoring protocol for the Palmivelles to evaluate the relevance of this technique in comparison with the use of the Ganivelles imported from abroad was implemented.

Mr. Mohammed Zammouri, Director of works at the municipality of Houmt Souk and member of the Project Steering Committee, is closely following the progress of the project and participates actively the various activities conducted at local level. He underlines in the testimony the positive impact of the works carried out by the project at Djerba consisting of the implementation of the Ganivelles and Palmivelles at Sidi Hachani beach: “I really realize that the installation of an additional kilometer of Ganivelles (since 2018) along the arrow of Ras Rmal has quickly allowed the restoration of the dune cord. The use of this innovative and soft techniques has allowed both the fixation of sand dunes and the preservation of the coastal public space and natural ecosystems in particular the wetland of Ras Rmal wetland and the establishment of pedestrian paths In addition, by its natural and ecological aspect, the Ganivelles have brought an impressive aesthetic added value on the landscape plan while respecting the coastal environment by using natural wood”.

Recently, a follow-up visit and evaluation of the effects of the intervention was carried out and allowed to confirm the effectiveness, the result achieved in relation with the reconstruction of the dune cord by the technique of the Ganivelles was assessed very satisfactory and can be duplicated in the future by other projects. 

World Environment Day 2021

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UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration