Enhancement of cork oak cultural landscape values in favour of local community development in Kroumirie Mogod, Tunisia
The Kroumirie-Mogods territory, located in the northwest of Tunisia, covers an area of approximately 300,000 hectares. It extends from El Feija at the Tunisian-Algerian border, to Ras Al Koran (west of Bizerte), and is an extension of the Algerian Tell and the Moroccan Rif.
The Kroumirie and the Mogods are mainly covered by deciduous forests. At the top of the list of species present in this territory is the cork oak, which covers the mountain ranges of Kroumirie, Nefza and Mogods. Unfortunately, the area of cork oak has decreased from 127,000 hectares in 1952 to 63,000 hectares today – 49,412ha in Jendouba and 14,277ha in Béja – which together represents about 48% of the total area of cork oak in Tunisia.
On a social level, the Kroumirie-Mogods territory is home to approximately 62.3% of the forest communities in Tunisia and 45.5% of those living 5km from the forest. Over time, these communities discovered the balance between their daily practices and the environment, making the cork grove landscape in Kroumirie – Mogods an ecosystem to be conserved, as well as an inhabited landscape to be kept in balance and promoted.
The cork oak landscape currently faces several pressures due to various factors, including human pressure, climatic changes, and the erosion of the ground. Preserving and enhancing this precious landscape is now an emergency, needed to maintain ecosystem balance and biodiversity.
Through the People & Cork project, we aim to promote the cultural and natural practices of traditional and sustainable uses of the cork oak forest landscapes of the Kroumirie and Mogods region. In addition, we are working to enhance the natural and cultural landscape potential of this region through communication, advocacy for policies supporting cultural practices, research and promotion of innovative sustainable economic initiatives.
To achieve these objectives, WWF North Africa seeks to involve local authorities, the university (Institut Sylvo-Pastoral de Tabarka), cork industries based in Kroumirie-Mogods and the civil society, including associations and the Agricultural Development Group (ADG). ANP-WWF Portugal will bring its experience to the enhancement of the cork value chain and the promotion of cultivation practices linked to cork.
The project focuses on the sustainable use of natural and cultural resources in the vicinity of protected areas for the conservation of several priority plant and animal species with special conservation status. Our intention is that by the end of the project, local and national stakeholders will be able to implement actions with positive impacts on cultural practices in cork landscapes and biodiversity conservation.
All photos © WWF North Africa
This project is led by AMNC partner WWF North Africa, in collaboration with Associação Natureza Portugal | WWF Portugal, Municipality of Tabarka, Sylvo-Pastoral Institute of Tabarka and New Society of Cork in Tabarka.