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Lund University (2011)

Sustainability of irrigated agriculture under salinity pressure – A study in semiarid Tunisia

Bouksila, Fethi

Titre : Sustainability of irrigated agriculture under salinity pressure – A study in semiarid Tunisia

Auteur : Bouksila, Fethi

Université de soutenance : Lund University

Grade : Doktorsavhandling 2011

In semiarid and arid Tunisia, water quality and agricultural practices are the major contributing factors to the degradation of soil resources threatening the sustainability of irrigation systems and agricultural productivity. Nowadays, about 50% of the total irrigated areas in Tunisia are considered at high risk for salinization.The aim of this thesis was to study soil management and salinity relationships in order to assure sustainable irrigated agriculture in areas under salinity pressure. To prevent further soil degradation, farmers and ruraldevelopment officers need guidance and better tools for the measurement, prediction, and monitoring of soil salinity at different observation scales, and associated agronomical strategy. Field experiments were performed in semi-arid Nabeul (sandy soil), semi-arid Kalâat Landalous (clay soil), and the desertic Fatnassa oasis (gypsiferous soil). The longest observation period represented 17 years. Besides field studies, laboratory experiments were used to develop accurate soil salinity measurements and prediction techniques. In saline gypsiferous soil, the WET sensor can give similar accuracy of soil salinity as the TDR if calibrated values of the soil parameters are used instead of standard values. At the Fatnassa oasis scale, the predicted values of ECe and depth of shallow groundwater Dgw using electromagnetic induction EM-38 were found to be in agreement with observed values with acceptable accuracy. At Kalâat Landalous (1400 ha), the applicability of artificial neural network (ANN) models for predicting the spatial soil salinity (ECe) was found to be better than multivariate linear regression (MLR) models. In semi-arid and desertic Tunisia, irrigation and drainage reduce soil salinity and dilute the shallow groundwater. However, the ECgw has a larger impact than soil salinity variation on salt balance. Based on the findings related to variation in the spatial and temporal soil and groundwater properties, soil salinization factors were identified and the level of soil “salinization risk unit” (SRU) was developed. The groundwater properties, especially the Dgw, could be considered as the main cause of soil salinization risk in arid Tunisia. However, under an efficient drainage network and water management, the soil salinization could be considered as a reversible process. The SRU mapping can be used by both land planners and farmers to make appropriate decisions related to crop production and soil and water management


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Page publiée le 10 novembre 2011, mise à jour le 17 juin 2017