Grazing exclosure and plantation: A synchronic study of two restoration techniques improving plant community and soil properties in arid degraded steppes (Algeria)

Amghar, F., et al., 2012. Revue d'Ecologie (La Terre et la Vie)

Original research (primary data)
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Steppes of arid Mediterranean zones are deeply threatened by desertification. To stop or alleviate ecological and economic problems associated with this desertification, management actions have been implemented since the last three decades. The struggle against desertification has become a national priority in some of these countries. In Algeria, several management techniques have been used to cope with desertification. This study aims to investigate the effect of two management techniques on vegetation, soil properties and pastoral value after four years of implementation. The two techniques were grazing exclosure which was widely set up in degraded steppes and plantations (consisting in plantation and grazing exclosure) in deeply degraded ones. 49 phytoecological and soil samples have been studied. Results showed that plant diversity, composition, vegetation cover and pastoral value were significantly higher in protected areas. Management techniques also affected soil surface elements (percentage of sand, coarse soil elements, bare silty crust, and bare ground), organic matter and soil nitrogen content. We also demonstrated that important differences between both techniques remain: plantation technique on heavily degraded soil results in a higher pastoral value of plant communities whereas grazing exclosure technique on lesser degraded soil favours plant diversity.

Case studies

Basic information

  • Case ID: INT-068-1
  • Intervention type: Combination
  • Intervention description:

    Livestock grazing exclosures to allow for spontaneous recovery of vegetation Grazing exclosure of livestock concerns so large surfaces that, better than physical grazing exclosure, HCDS opted for a consensus setting of those parcels with nomad shepherds, which are strongly socially structured. Boundary stones were set up around the area.

  • Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management: Yes
  • Climate change impacts Effect of Nbs on CCI Effect measures
    Reduced soil quality  Positive Soil surface elements (%): plant cover, litter, bare silty crust, sand, bare ground, coarse elements Soil chemical analysis: pH, active lime, total lime, %OM, %N, C/N
    Loss of food production  Positive Pastoral Value: The pastoral value (Pv) of each plot was obtained by weighting the speci c contribution of each species extracted from pin-point data (Csi) by its speci c quality index (Isi), the plot global vegetation cover (GVC) and by a factor of 0.1.
  • Approach implemented in the field: Yes
  • Specific location:

    the 3400 ha grazing exclosure of Sahou Lahmer (34° 16’ - 34° 14’ N and 1° 58’ - 1° 57’ E), located 5 km south of the town of Gueltet Sidi Saad

  • Country: Algeria
  • Habitat/Biome type: Montane/Alpine |
  • Issue specific term: Not applicable


  • Notes on intervention effectivness: effectiveness compared to control areas in which restoration intervention has not been implemented comparison to alternative mixed because although the alternative was found to be more effective in terms of one climate impact (low pastoral productivity), it was unclear how the two interventions compared with respect to the second impact (soil quality). Note that the alternative is not coded as an NBS in our criteria said we were excluding pastoral interventions that were not protectionm/restoration, here exotic establishment/planting included as comparator because it’s a pastoral intervention. This poses a potential issue - Should we consider coding this as created and change our criteria? My thinking is that in light of the fact that we are included created habitat interventions, it may be misleading exclude these. For example, we coded article 44 as impact agricultural production, because it involved the restoration of karro rangeland (for fodder), then exclude this one simply because it involves exotics (for fodder)
  • Is the assessment original?: Yes
  • Broadtype of intervention considered: Other non-NbS approach(s)
  • Compare effectivness?: Yes
  • Compared to the non-NBS approach: Mixed
  • Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
  • Impacts on GHG: Not applicable
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: Yes
  • Impacts for the ecosystem: Positive
  • Ecosystem measures: Floristic richness and vegetation structure: floristic richness, therophyte, other plant life dorms
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: No
  • Impacts for people: Not reported
  • People measures:
  • Considers economic costs: No
  • Economic appraisal conducted: No
  • Economic appraisal described:
  • Economic costs of alternative considered: No
  • Compared to an alternative: Not reported

Evaluation methodology

  • Type of data: Quantitative
  • Is it experimental: Yes
  • Experimental evalution done: In-situ/field
  • Non-experimental evalution done: Not applicable
  • Study is systematic: