With an area of 42,100 hectares and 40 million m3 of water reserves in its lakes and ponds, the Wetlands Complex of Guerbès-Sanhadja in Algeria was classified in 2001 as a site of international importance under the RAMSAR Convention.
Wetlands act as natural sponges by absorbing and storing rainwater and releasing it in the dry season. Each year for the past 10 years, Hamid, a farmer in Benazzouz, in the heart of the wetland, would mark out a plot of land to cultivate watermelon, clear the land and pump water to irrigate his crops.
Once the harvest season had passed, he would choose another plot of land, given that the plot he had been using during the current year had become uncultivable. Such practices led to soil degradation, often on an irreversible scale. To preserve the land and provide an economic alternative for local communities, UNDP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), launched an integrated management project […]