International project reports

Re-use of wastewater for a sustainable forest production and climate change mitigation under arid environments


Over the last decades biotic and abiotic constrains together with human actions are determining a substantial environmental pressure, particularly in dry lands as the south of the Mediterranean region. From very long time, indeed, simultaneous drivers such as demographic growth, climate change and socio-economic factors are weakening the previous homeostasis between human needs and natural resources on the regional scale.Resulting pressures are determining environmental degradation and increase of desertification risk for the arid and semiarid lands. Water quality and availability are both crucial points limiting people well-being and livelihoods in the same context. Scarcity of fresh water and heavy and mismanaged production of wastewater are the main factors affecting water resources. Increasing pollution of soil and ground waters reduces the possibility of sustainable development of local communities with relevant social consequences. The FAO's supporting program in north Africa aims to: a) develop new and cheaper phytotechnologies (e.g. constructed wetland system; innovative treatment system for reuse of waste water for fertigation); b) treat wastewater for water quality protection; c) promote land recovery by means of sustainable multipurpose forestry; d) adopt bioengineering interventions to stop slopes erosion and protect urban, and semi-urban infrastructures; e) create pilot demonstrative areas to test multi-purpose sustainable agroforestry systems. Within this frame, an integrated approach was designed to promote innovative sustainable water management and multipurpose forestry, in order to mitigate the effects of climate change, promote land recovery, and improve the livelihoods of local population. The present paper aims to provide an overview of the FAO project GCP/RAB/013/ITA. Particularly, two pilot studies are shown and discussed.


Phytotechnologies; arid environment; wastewater; sustainable development; forest and agro-forestry systems.

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