Implementation of the
VGSSM in the Maghreb region
By Ms. Rafla Attia
-The Magreb region is located in North Africa and includes 5 countries Morocco, Algeria,
Tunisia, Libya, Mauritanie
-The description as arid countries can be explained by the extent of the arid and Saharan
zones which cover more than 70 % of the land.
-Soils of the Magreb region are highly vulnerable to degradation, and future food security will
depend on sustainable agricultural measures.
The climate in this region reflects the influences of the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the
Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Sahara in the centre south.
Factoring in this variety of climatic influences :Many countries have invested substantially in
water storage infrastructure and the extension of their irrigation systems.
Currently new concepts are appearing in Global Regional National scale with the aim of
promoting sustainable management of land and water
Magreb regions are characterized by 3 bio-geo-climatic zoning features:
- The north from humid to semi-arid has forest and pastoral ecosystems and agro-systems
based mainly on field crops, arboriculture and irrigated perimeters.
- Atlas mountain forms a barrier between the Mediterranean coast and the Sahara.
La forêt dense est en bon état. protégée
un groupement à base de Pin d'Alep +
maquis vigoureux. Le taux de recouvrement est
d'environ 90 %.
Maquis dégradé surface claire sevevent
impluvium de concentration des eaux
pluviales. différentes formes d'érosion
Le couvert végétal broutée est de 30 %.
La présence d’espèce sont indicatrices
de la dégradation des terres et de la
présence d'azote nitrique d'origine animal.
Les labours à effets destructifs sur les sol
intensification ds les PI menacé par la salure
secondaire et l'hydromorphie tomporaire en saison
Exposition des racines d’oliviers
ss l’effet érosion
TRANSECT De El Gabeul – PPI Lakhmes
Vue d’ensemble du site
The semi-arid and arid area contains pastoral ecosystems and arboriculture (olive growing)
and irrigated perimeters.
Cereal farming, only succeeds during the good rainy years.
Steppes and rangelands are well represented in the region. They are mainly found, dispersed in
Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. the steppe, a zone suited to agropastoralism,
Desert, arid and semi-arid zones cover a large part of the countries along the southern fringes
of the Mediterranean
The oases is affected by : Greater water needs for the crops due to the continuous lowering of
the static water level , increased water salinity loss of plant biodiversity, soil impoverishment and
salinisation,attacks on palm trees;
The factors cause loss of profitability and abandonment of the oasis system, leading to its
Hence, territorial differences (geographic location, ethnic groups, sociospatial organisation,
management methods, etc.) require that zones be treated, in a manner compatible with their
specific historical, cultural and spatial characteristics
The association between water and soil resources, land use and land-use techniques is
expressed spatially by homogeneous agro-ecological regions.
The fight against land degradation and drought is therefore significant challenges
Countries Soil Erosion Soil Salinization Drought, Rainfaill
Fertility Depletion/Soil Organic Matter (SOM) Soil Pollution
Algeria Water erosion affects 45% of
northern areas due to:
overgrazing, forest fire and
unsuitable farming practices
Affects nearly 1
Million ha. (10-15% of
21% over-cultivation -
Egypt Affects 29% of farmland in the
Nile Valley of Egypt (world soil
Yield reduction due
amounts to 25%
Note: has led to a
complete loss of
agricultural lands in
- - -
Morocco > 3 000 ton/km2 /year - - Decrease in soil nutrient content leading to the large use of
fertilizers; / SOC loss is between 15 to 30% under agricultural
system by decade (mainly in irrigated soils)
Tunisia 8.5 million ha, affected by
medium to high erosion.
Erosion rate 3.5t/HA/an
1.506 spreading water’s
structure, 1.532.863 ha of a
managed watersheds (terraces,
tabia, basins, etc), 77 033 ha
treated in soft techniques
(ploughing in level lines, bands
or rotating crops).
- 10%soils affected by
salinity in Tunisia
1500000 ha irrigated
-Soil contents in organic
matter are less than 2%
with some exceptions
from the fertile soils of
the North West where
values higher than 3%
urgency must be adopted surrounding soil health investments in the NENA , Magreb
regions, due to an impending number of threats to regional crop yields.
To fight against land degradation, and preserve food security, good agricultural practices should
be adopted, to ensure ecosystem sustainability
Prioritization and coordination according to the types of problems encountered and the Agro-
This assessment should allow the different chronological evolutions of the landscapes and
target the direct causes. The main objective is to draw up an intervention plan.
-make an evolution of landscape mosaics (land use, forms of degradation, soil properties)
- draw a panel of scenarios of evolution and application of good agricultural practices
-identify the best performing scenarios (production of agricultural biomass, water saving,
preservation of soil resources)
- Integration of good soil management practices and capacity building
Sustainable Soil Management
The work of inter governemental panel on soil ITPS june 2018 led to
To provide guidance about how
the sustainability of soil
To provide a starting point for
regional and local assessments of
to get people (and governments) to agree on same principles
and guidelines for action.
According to the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Land Management (FAO, 2017),
sustainably managed soils would have the following eleven soil conditions:
1) Minimum rates of soil erosion by water, wind and tillage;
2) non-degraded soil structure (soil compaction, for example)
3) Sufficient surface cover (plant residues, mulch, etc.) to protect the soil;
4) Stable soil organic matter reserves
5) Availability and flow of nutrients appropriate for maintaining or improving soil
fertility and productivity and minimizing surface water losse
(6) minimal or no acidification, salinization, sodification and alkalinization of the soil;
7) Water effectively infiltrated into the soil, stored to meet the needs of the plants and
drained from the soil in case of excess soil water;
8) below toxic levels Contaminants
9) soil biodiversity has a full range of biological functions;
10) Production management systems based on optimized and safe use of all inputs,
11) Soil sealing minimized through responsible land use planning.
Stages in the Assessment of the Sustainability of Soil
Management were identified :
• Compilation of information on current or proposed management.
• Identification of management-related threats to soil-provided ecosystem services and to soil
functions and biodiversity.
• Compilation of science-based information on acceptable levels of threats to soil-provided
ecosystem services and to soil functions and biodiversity.
• Compilation of local knowledge on acceptable levels of threats.
• Linkage of current or proposed management to identified threats (e.g. effect of tillage on
earthworms as developed above).
• Comparison of probable effects of current or proposed management to acceptable levels of
• Assessment of socio-economic and cultural implications of current or proposed management
• Implementation of changes to management to achieve acceptable levels of threats or
initiation of efforts to overcome barriers to adoption of such changes.
• Recognition of achievement of sustainability.
Minimize soil erosion
Enhance soil organic matter content
Foster soil nutrient balance and cycles
Minimize soil sealing
Prevent, minimize and mitigate soil
salinization and alkalinization
Preserve and enhance soil biodiversity
Prevent and minimize soil contamination
Prevent and minimize soil acidification
Prevent and mitigate soil compaction
Improve soil water management
Sustainably managed soil will have (from
VGSSM1, FAO, 2017)
-Improvement of farmers capacities in the field of soil fertility
-The current status and challenges of soil fertility and the relevance of
the topic to sustainable agriculture
-Organic soil management
-Valorization of organic waste by composting
-Economic aspects related to the management of soil fertilization
An example: the VGSSM to “Enhance soil organic matter content”
OM in Tunisian soils shows a steady decline:
1947 1981 1998 2002 2004
Enfida 4-2 1 0.6 0.4 0.4
bougrara 1 0.7 0.5 0.2 0.2
Tableau 1. Evolution du taux de la matière organique pour Ennfida et Bougrara( Source Institut de l’olivier)
The situation is even more alarming in southern Tunisia, whose values
are 0.1 and 0.05%.
Inappropriate anthropogenic actions (Monoculture, the massive use of
chemical fertilizers, irrigation with unconventional waters ...)
Training Needs / Advice to Improve Crop Selectionand fertilizers according to type of
Field School for the seven Governorates of the Platform in collaboration DGACTA-GIZ
EROSION GLISSEMENT DE TERRES
An example: the VGSSM to “minimize soil erosion”
A cover of growing plants or other organic and non-organic residues that protects the
soil surface from erosion should be maintained through implementation of
appropriate measures such as mulching, minimum tillage, no-till by direct seeding
no-till by direct seeding
measures that reduce runoff rates
mulching, minimum tillage,
spreading of the organic amendment
Identify appropriate SSM practices under
different land use systems
A better understanding of the links between the ecosystems and
the livelihood in order to provide information for decision making
- Strategic framework approach for evaluating
implementing sustainable land management
- Increase theMagreb area under sustainable
- Identify regions where SSM practices are successfully
implemented for up-scaling adapt them and implement
at appropriate scales (cost-benefit)
- Assess and address barriers to adoption (technically
- Monitor SSM implementation
- Capacity development to promote SSM adoption
- Implementation Plan of soil restoration
programplanning should consider specific problems ,
opportunities and priorities
- integration of SLM into national strategies ,plans and
- Generalization of sustainable land management in
- National and regional development To synergize all
• Even characters
• Same issues: sustainable management
• Even problematic:
Rarity of resources
vulnerability to degradation
• Agriculture remains the sector that
ensures food security and creates the
• Same goals sought
Formulation effective sustainable development of regional strategies to improve natural
resources management in the five countries
New Farmland Management and
Conservation Strategy ACTA