The Ichkeul lake and wetland are a major stopover point for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, such as ducks, geese, storks and pink flamingoes, who come to feed and nest there. Ichkeul is the last remaining lake in a chain that once extended across North Africa.
Designation date: 1977
Regional network: ArabMAB
Surface : 14,100 ha
- Core area(s): 12,600 ha
- Buffer zone(s): N/A
- Transition zone(s): 1,500 ha
Location: 37°10'N; 9°40'E
Ministère de l'Agriculture Direction générale des forêts
Direction générale des forêts, Ministère de l'agriculture
30, Rue Alain Savary
1002 TUNIS - BELVEDERE
Tel.: (216.71) 891-497
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Ichkeul Biosphere Reserve is situated approximately 25km south-west of Bizerte in the north of Tunisia. The area consists of an isolated and wooded massif (Djebel Ichkeul) and a brackish water lake (Ichkeul Lake). Ichkeul wetland is one of the most important sites in the entire Mediterranean region for wintering Palaearctic waterfowl, with records of up to 300,000-400,000 birds present at one time. The site has a typically semi-arid climate and is dominated by pan-Mediterranean plant species. Its has been also designated as Ramsar wetland and national park.
This part of Tunisia has been settled and influenced by man over millennia. About 350 people live within the biosphere reserve (1999), largely employed in the local quarry industry. Fishing activities as well as cattle, sheep and goats raising also occur within the biosphere reserve. The surrounding area is densely populated and hosts intensive agriculture of ploughed land, orchards and pasture.
The restricted water supply has already led to the drying out of the marshes, with Scirpus maritimus (the principal food plant of wintering Anser anser) being replaced by invasive annual weeds. The digging of drainage canals has led to lowered lake water levels permitting grazing livestock to degrade formerly inaccessible reedbeds, while rising salinity restricts the growth of Potamogeton pectinatus. An eco-museum and visitor centre has been established to inform visitors about this sensible ecosystem.
Last updated: October 2018