Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca (Sep 2022)

Monitoring land-cover changes in Mediterranean coastal dunes, northwest Tunisia, using remote sensing data

  • Issam TOUHAMI,
  • Hamdi AOUINTI,
  • Mohamed A. KHABTHANI,
  • Kaouther BERGAOUI,
  • Esteban CHIRINO,
  • Touhami RZIGUI,
  • Juan BELLOT,
  • Abdelhamid KHALDI,
  • Mohamed L. KHOUJA,

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 50, no. 3


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Coastal dune landscapes are subject to morphological and ecological changes. In many parts of the world, coastal dunes are under severe pressure. The present study illustrates an integrated remote sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) approach, i.e., geospatial techniques for assessing land-cover dynamics in Zouaraa coastal dunes, located in northwest Tunisia. As a main result, the analysis of the situation in the past six decades indicates that the dune area showed a decreasing trend with up to 31% (i.e., 6198 ha) in favour of forest area, which has increased by up to 6485 ha. The geo-spatial analysis revealed that restoration works have positively contributed to stabilize coastal dune systems with a substantial increase in vegetation cover. An increase in drought frequency and intensity was detected during the 1952-2017 period using the SPEI index, which enhanced the vegetation activity and growth in the study area. The SPEI significantly correlated with vegetation greenness on the 12- and 24-months’ time scales. The croplands, water and buildings in the study area have increased respectively by 6% (i.e., 1256 ha), 13% (i.e., 3073 ha) and 3% (i.e., 719 ha). In contrast, land cover like shrub and bare soil has decreased respectively by 13% (i.e., 3073 ha) and 2% (i.e., 1831 ha) during the same period. Furthermore, this study highlights the importance of the revegetation techniques undertaken for conserving coastal dune systems. The findings of this study allow land-use planning decision makers to manage and improve situations in similar coastal regions.