American Journal of Plant Sciences, 2012, 3, 1527-1534 Published Online November 2012 (
Biodiversity of Halophytic Vegetation in Chott Zehrez
Lake of Djelfa (Algeria)
Bouzid Nedjimi1*, Brahim Beladel2, Brahim Guit1
1Laboratoire d’Exploration et Valorisation des Ecosystèmes Steppiques, Faculté des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie, Université de
Djelfa, Djelfa, Algeria; 2Faculté des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie, Université de Djelfa, Djelfa, Algeria.
Email: *
Received August 10th, 2012; revised September 17th, 2012; accepted October 15th, 2012
Mediterranean large lakes play an important role in providing a range of ecosystem functions and supporting biodiver-
sity. The conservation and management of these lakes require more detailed knowledge of their ecology and environ-
ment-vegetation relationships. Chotts are probably the most poorly understood lake ecosystems. Chott Zehrez (Djelfa)
as a large, shallow lake ecosystem in Algerian steppes, where wetlands are important part of their productivity. Despite
the status of chott Zehrez lake as a Ramsar site, the main threat to its conservation is the private nature of surrounding
land holdings in addition to the lack of knowledge and awareness by the local population of the importance of lake
ecosystems. A wealth of halophytic flora exists which can be exploited for an array of uses like fodder, fuel wood, oil-
seed, medicines, landscaping, and environment conservation through carbon sequestration. A total 112 species belong-
ing to 26 families and 39 genera were recorded. The sabkha flora includes 9 endangered and endemic species such as
Avena bromoides, Cutandia divaricata, Herniaria mauritanica and Salicornia arabica. In this paper we mainly dis-
cussed characteristics and importance of Chott Zehrez lake ecosystem, its vegetation potentialities and economic usages
will be also presented and discussed. Finally conservation strategy and restoration of this ecosystem are suggested.
Keywords: Algeria; Chott Zehrez; Endemic Species; Economic Potential; Halophytes; Sebkha
1. Introduction
Lakes in Algeria have, for a long time, been a source of
water for humans and their livestock, especially during
dry seasons. They also support a rich biodiversity and are
of major importance for migratory birds and constitute
wintering grounds for thousands of ducks, coots, geese,
and flamingos. Currently 42 out of the 300 lakes in Alge-
ria are listed under the Ramsar Convention covering an
area of 3 million ha [1].
The most characteristic types of lake in Algeria are
endorheic lakes. They consist of chotts and sebkhas, as
known in Arabic, also referred to as Athalassic salt lakes.
The term athalassic denotes saline waters which are iso-
lated from the sea, or which were once connected to the
sea, but which have dried out before being re-flooded by
water of non-marine origin [1]. The chotts and sebkhas
are typically seasonal lake which dry out in summer and
re-flood in winter. According to [2], sebkha is the central
zone of saline lake dominated by water and devoid of
vegetation due to high salt concentrations. The chott is
the surrounding zone which forms a vegetation ring
around the water. This vegetation is mainly composed of
halophytic, succulent and perennial species. In these en-
vironments the main factors controlling vegetation are
water salinity in the growing season and the depth and
period of flooding. Vegetation at the edges of the Chotts
comprises mainly members of the Chenopodiaceae fam-
ily (such as Atriplex ssp., Salsola ssp., Suaeda ssp. and
Salicornia ssp.) Among the most important chotts in Al-
geria is Chott Zehrez, the second largest Chott in North
Africa [1]. However, as far as we know, there has not
been a lot of research conducted on these systems.
Several efforts were made to compile a list of the
halophytic flora of the world [3] as well as a list of re-
gional halophytes. However, the information regarding
halophytes is still far from complete. The flora of Algeria
is near completion and also has information about the
halophytes. Currently, effort is being made to compile a
list of halophytes in Algeria, with their distribution,
ecology and potential economic usages.
Halophytes and other salt-tolerant plants may provide
sensible alternatives for many developing countries [4].
These plants can grow in saline to extremely saline habi-
tats and have particular characteristics which enable them
to evade and/or tolerate salinity by various eco-physio-
*Corresponding author.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJPS
Biodiversity of Halophytic Vegetation in Chott Zehrez Lake of Djelfa (Algeria)
logical mechanisms. These plants are naturally grown in
salt affected lands such as in salt lakes, marshes, sloughs,
saline soils and seashores. The vegetative yields of halo-
phytes and other salt-tolerant plants species could have
great economic potentialities in the arid and semi-arid
areas [5]. There are many halophytes and salt-tolerant
shrubs and grasses which could be established in saline
lands (e.g. Kochia sp., Juncus sp., Acacia sp., Suaeda sp.,
Salsola sp. and Atriplex sp.). Although economic consid-
eration of halophytes and other salt-tolerant plants is just
beginning, they are now receiving increased attention
particularly in arid regions where salinity problems are
very crucial.
Despite their international importance in Algeria,
Chott Lakes have attracted little attention concerning
their floristic composition and ecological processes. The
objectives of this study are to focus on 1) the under-
standing the Chott Zehrez as a large, shallow lake eco-
system where wetlands are important and its ecological
threats 2) to identify the different plant communities
present in the area of Chott Zehrez lake and 3) to de-
scribe the economic potential use of a wide range of
halophytes and other salt tolerant vegetation.
2. Site Description
The study was undertaken in a salt Chott of Zehrez
Djelfa, which is located to the north of Algeria (3˚03'E
longitude, 34˚36'N latitude) (Figure 1). The Chott area is
about 50.985 ha and the altitude ranges from 840 m to
825 m. The geology consists mainly of cretaceous, with
deposits of quaternary. According to [2] principal type of
soils in Chott Zehrez wetland are the calci-magnesic so-
lontchak and hydromorphic soils (gley). The Sebkha
soils are characterised by saline silts, prone to flooding in
winter and covered by salty crusts in summer [6]. The
endorheic nature of the area and the flat relief induce
water accumulation in the Chott from winter rainfall. The
saline soils (solontchaks) are poorly developed and con-
tain a high amount of exchangeable sodium and soluble
salts. The texture changes from silt-clays to silt-sands [7].
Soil salinity ranges from 1.99 to 4.47 dS·m1. The water
table varies from 1 to 3 m below the surface (Figure 2).
The climate of Chott Zehrez is typically Mediterranean,
characterised by wet winters and hot dry summers with a
mean annual precipitation of 250 mm·year1 (2000-2010).
The average minimum winter and maximum summer
temperatures are 5˚C in January and 26˚C in July, re-
spectively. The rainy season is generally from mid-Oc-
tober to May [8].
The natural vegetation is represented by halophytes
such as Atriplex halimus, Suaeda fruticosa, Salsola ver-
miculata and Salicornia fruticosa. A number of rare and
1 cm = 8 Km
Figure 1. Location of the study area (Image LANDSAT
Figure 2. Salicornia sp. is often the dominant species on
Chott Zehrez Lake, The pools of water in the foreground
indicate the high level of the groundwater (Photo Senni R.,
endemic plant species are found, including: Herniaria
mauritanica, Salicornia arabica, Avena bomoides, Hor-
deum maritimu, Juncus bufonius, Launaea resedfolia,
Polygonum equisetfo rme and Reaumuria venniculata [9].
The Chott Zehrez lake is very important for breeding
and over-wintering of many bird populations. There is a
diversity of species many of which are rare and threat-
ened. These include Outarde (Chlamydotis undulata),
different types of ducks: Anas penelope, Anas clypeata,
Anas platyrhynchos and other birds such as Falco tin-
nunculus; Columba livia and Tyto alba. This relatively
diverse flora and fauna was a critical factor in the desig-
nation of the Chott as a RAMSAR site.
3. Halophytic Vegetation Description
The region of Chott Zehrez lake investigated in this study
is characteristic of the salt marshes (Sebkha and Chott)
situated in the northern part of Algeria (Djelfa). The re-
sults demonstrated that halophytic and hydrohalophytic
communities constitute the natural vegetation of the area.
112 species belonging to 26 families and 39 genera were
recorded (Table 1). Nine of the recorded species were
endemic representing 8% of he total species. The richest t
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJPS
Biodiversity of Halophytic Vegetation in Chott Zehrez Lake of Djelfa (Algeria) 1529
Table 1. Alphabetical listing of vegetation in Chott Zehrez lake of Algeria (Those with an asterisk (*) are endemic in Algeria,
with two asterisks (**) are rare species).
Nbr Species Family Plant type1 Life form2
01 Aeluropus littoralis Poaceae Hydrohalophyte Chamaephyte
02 Agropyron orientale Poaceae Xerophyte Therophyte
03 Aizoon hispanicum Aizoaceae Xerohalophyte Therophyte
04 Ammochloa palaestina Poaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
05 Ana cyc lus cl ava tus Asteraceae Weedy Therophyte
06 Anacyclus cyrtolepidioides* Asteraceae Xerophyte Therophyte
07 Artemisia campestris Asteraceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
08 Artemisia herba-alba Asteraceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
09 Arthrocnemum indicum Chenopodiaceae Hydrohalophyte Phanerophyte
10 Arthrophytum schmittianum Chenopodiaceae Halophyte Phanerophyte
11 Arthrophytum scoparium Chenopodiaceae Halophyte Phanerophyte
12 Astragalus cruciatus Fabaceae Xerohalophyte Chamaephyte
13 Astragalus tenuifoliosus Fabaceae Xerohalophyte Chamaephyte
14 Atractylis carduus Asteraceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
15 Atriplex glauca Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
16 Atriplex halimus Chenopodiaceae XeroHalophyte Phanerophyte
17 Atriplex portulacoides Chenopodiaceae XeroHalophyte Phanerophyte
18 Avena bromoides** Poaceae Weedy Hemicryptophyte
19 Bassia muricata Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Therophyte
20 Beta macrocarpa Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
21 Biscutella auriculata Brassicaceae Xerophyte Therophyte
22 Bupleurum semicomposi tum Apiaceae Weedy Therophyte
23 Centaurium pulchellum Gentianaceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
24 Cordylocarpus muricatus* Brassicaceae Weedy Therophyte
25 Coronopus squamatus Brassicaceae Xerohalophyte Therophyte
26 Cressa cretica Convolvulaceae Hydrohalophyte Chamaephyte
27 Ctenopis pectinella Poaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
28 Cutandia dichotoma Poaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
29 Cutandia divaricata** Poaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
30 Cynodon dactylon Poaceae Weedy Chamaephyte
31 Diplotaxis harra Brassicaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
32 Enarthrocarpus clavatus* Brassicaceae Xerophyte Therophyte
33 Erodium glaucophyllum Geraniaceae Xerophyte Therophyte
34 Euphorbia falcata Euphorbiaceae Weedy Therophyte
35 Frankenia pulverulenta Frankeniaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
36 Frankenia thymifolia* Frankeniaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
37 Halocnemum strobilaceum Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
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Biodiversity of Halophytic Vegetation in Chott Zehrez Lake of Djelfa (Algeria)
38 Halogeton sativus Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
39 Halopeplis amplexicaulis Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
40 Hedypnois cretica Asteraceae Weedy Therophyte
41 Helianthemum hirtum* Cistaceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
42 Helianthemum kahiri cu m Cistaceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
43 Hel ia nt he mum l ip pi i Cistaceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
44 Herniaria fontanesii Paronychioideae Xeropgypsophyte Chamaephyte
45 Herniaria hirsuta Paronychioideae Xeropgypsophyte Hemicryptophyte
46 Herniaria mauritanica* Paronychioideae Xeropgypsophyte Chamaephyte
47 Hordeum maritimum** Poaceae Hydrohalophyte Chamaephyte
48 Hutchinsia procumens Brassicaceae Xerohalophyte Therophyte
49 Inula crithmoides Asteraceae Hydrohalophyte Chamaephyte
50 Imperata cylindrica Poaceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
51 Juncus bufonius** Juncaceae Hydrohalophyte Therophyte
52 Juncus maritimus Juncaceae Hydrohalophyte Phanerophyte
53 Koeleria pubescens Poaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
54 Koelpinia linearis Asteraceae Weedy Therophyte
55 Launea nudicaulis** Asteraceae Xerohalophyte Chamaephyte
56 Launea resedifolia** Asteraceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
57 Limoniastrum guyo nianum* Plumbaginaceae Xerohalophyte Chamaephyte
58 Limonium ec hioid es Plumbaginaceae Hydrohalophyte Phanerophyte
59 Limonium pruinosum Plumbaginaceae Hydrohalophyte Therophyte
60 Limonium sinuatum Plumbaginaceae Hydrohalophyte Phanerophyte
61 Limonium thouini Plumbaginaceae Hydrohalophyte Therophyte
62 Loefflingia hispanica Caryophyllaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
63 Loliu m rigi dum Poaceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
64 Lotus corniculatus Fabaceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
65 Ly geum spartu m Poaceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
66 Malva aegyptiaca Malvaceae Xerophyte Therophyte
67 Morettia canescens Brassicaceae Xerophyte Therophyte
68 Nitraria retusa Zygophyllaceae XeroHalophyte Chamaephyte
69 Noaea mucronata Chenopodiaceae XeroHalophyte Chamaephyte
70 Onopordon arenarium* Asteraceae Psammophyte Hemicryptophyte
71 Papaver hybridum Papaveraceae Xerophyte Therophyte
72 Peganum harmala Zygophyllaceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
73 Pholiurus unc urvus Poaceae Weedy Therophyte
74 Phalaris minor Poaceae Hydrohalophyte Therophyte
75 Phragmites communis Poaceae Hydrohalophyte Phanerophyte
76 Pistacia atla n ti ca* Anacardiaceae Xerophyte Phanerophyte
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Biodiversity of Halophytic Vegetation in Chott Zehrez Lake of Djelfa (Algeria) 1531
77 Plantago albicans Plantaginaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
78 Poa bulbosa Poaceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
79 Polygonum equisetiforme** Polygonaceae Xerohalophyte Chamaephyte
80 Pt eranthus dichotomus Paronychioideae Xerogypsophyte Therophyte
81 Puccinella distans Poaceae Hydrohalophyte Chamaephyte
82 Reaumuria vermiculata** Tamaricaceae Hydrohalophyte Chamaephyte
83 Salicornia arabica** Chenopodiaceae Hydrohalophyte Therophyte
84 Salsola sieberi Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Chamaephyte
85 Salsola tetragona Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
86 Salsola tetran dra Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
87 Salsola vermiculata Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
88 Schismus b arbatus Poaceae Psammophyte Therophyte
89 Schoenus nigricans Cyperaceae Hydrohalophyte Phanerophyte
90 Scirpus holoschoenus Cyperaceae Hydrohalophyte Hemicryptophyte
91 Sisymbrium coronopifolium Brassicaceae Xerophyte Therophyte
92 Sisymbrium runciatum Brassicaceae Xerophyte Therophyte
93 Sis ymb riu m t oru losum Brassicaceae Xerophyte Therophyte
94 Spergularia dia ndra Paronychioideae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
95 Spergularia marginata Paronychioideae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
96 Sphenopus divaricatus Poaceae Hydrohalophyle Therophyte
97 Stipa barbata Poaceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
98 Stipa lagascae Poaceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
99 Stipa parviflora Poaceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
100 Stipa tenacissima Poaceae Psammophyte Phanerophyte
101 Suaeda fruticosa Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
102 Suaeda mollis Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
103 Tamarix africana Tamaricaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
104 Tamarix boveana Tamaricaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
105 Telephium imperati Paronychioideae Xerophyte Hemicryptophyte
106 Thapsia g arganica Apiaceae Weedy Hemicryptophte
107 Thymelaea microphylla* Thymelaeaceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
108 Thymelaea virgata Thymelaeaceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
109 Traganum nudatum Chenopodiaceae Xerohalophyte Chamaephyte
110 Trifolium fragiferum Fabaceae Psammophyte Chamaephyte
111 Vicia monantha Fabaceae Hydrohalophyte Therophyte
112 Zygophyllum cornutum* Zygophyllaceae Xerohalophyte Phanerophyte
1Plant type: This category is based on the habitats in which the taxon is distributed: Hydrohalophyte: Present in salt marshes; Xerophyte: Desert specie;
Xerogypsophyte: Plant found on gypsum soils; Xerohalophyte: Salt desert specie; Psammophyte: Sand loving plant found on inland sand dunes; Weedy: Fugi-
tive species; 2Life form: Only one life form is assigned per species, even though many species show a certain amount of plasticity in this regard: Phanerophyte:
The buds were located at more than 50 cm of the soil (>50 cm tall); Chamaephyte: The buds were located at less than 50 cm of the soil (<50 cm tall); Thero-
hytes: Germination occurs during the rainy season; Hemicryptophyte: The buds were located on the surface of the soil. p
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJPS
Biodiversity of Halophytic Vegetation in Chott Zehrez Lake of Djelfa (Algeria)
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJPS
families were Chenopodiaceae, Poaceae and Plumbagi-
naceae. Phanerophytes, Chamaephytes and Therophytes
were the most frequent life forms. The highest number of
halophyte species is present in the Chenopodiaceae fam-
ily (19), followed by Poaceae (6), Plumbaginaceae (5),
Fabaceae (3) and Tamaricaceae (3), while other families
are represented by less than 16 halophytes (Table 1).
4. Utilization and Economic Potential of
Halophytes have their greatest potential not so much in
contributing to the world’s food supply but primarily in
their utilization of the growing areas of saline land for a
range of different goals. The most important opportuni-
ties relate to reforestation or replanting and ecological
recovery of saline areas that have fallen into disuse,
coastal development and protection, and the production
of cheap biomass for renewable energy, climate im-
provement and CO2 sequestration [10].
Halophytes seem to have much potential as a land cover
cannot be denied, which is not only aesthetically pleasing
but also checks land erosion and degradation. The more
important opportunities relate to reforestation or replant-
ing and ecological recovery of saline areas that have
fallen into disuse, coastal development and protection,
production of cheap biomass for renewable energy, en-
vironment conservation through carbon (C) sequestration,
stabilization of coasts and beaches; and support to devel-
opment of wild-life sanctuary and recreation areas [11].
4.1. Food
The only conventional crops species consumed by human
beings as food, which tolerate salinity to a certain extent
are beets (Beta vulgaris) and the date palm (Phoenix
dactylifera), which can be irrigated with brackish water.
The young leaves and shoots of Sesuvium portulacastrum,
Atriplex halimus and A. hortensis, have also been used
for vegetables, salads in various parts of the country [10].
4.2. Forages and Fodders Production
Halophytes are naturally adapted to vast areas of salt-
affected range lands [12,13] and they have been grazed
or browsed by animals for a long time. Halophytic
grasses, shrubs and trees are all potential sources of fod-
der. The greatest potential of halophytes probably rests
with their utilization as forages and fodder.
The foliage of such species as Atriplex spp., Salsola
spp. and Puccinellia spp., are used cattle feed. Many
species of Salicornia spp., Chenopodium spp., Suaeda
spp. and Koch ia spp. are common fodder shrubs. Among
grasses, Aeluropus litorallis, Poa bulbosa, Phragmites
communis, Schismus barbatus, and Puccinellia distans
are common species found in saline and alkaline areas
and used as forages [14].
Many of the halophytic plant species and salt-tolerant
species provide a valuable reserve feed for grazing ani-
mals particularly under drought conditions or fill regular
gaps in feed supply caused by seasonal conditions [15].
The value of certain halophytic species has been recog-
nized by their incorporation in pasture improvement pro-
grams in many salt-affected regions throughout the world
[16]. There have been recent advances in selecting spe-
cies with high biomass and protein levels and the ability
to survive a wide range of environmental conditions in-
cluding salinity [17]. Atriplex halimus has been field
tested for domestic livestock and found to produce good
fodder with biomass varied from 0.5 to 5 t·DW·ha1.
This productivity is mainly related to the water availabil-
ity and soil depth [17].
4.3. Oil Seeds
Seed of many halophytes contain appreciable amount of
edible oils [18]. Seeds of various halophytes, such as
Suaeda fruticosa, Arthrocnemum spp., Salicornia spp.
and Halogeton spp. possess a sufficient quantity of high
quality edible oil with unsaturation ranging from 70% -
80% [19]. Thus, the exploration of economically impor-
tant halophytes species may constitute an alternative
source of edible oil.
4.4. Fuel Wood and Coal
Moderately to highly salt-tolerant trees, which can pro-
vide a range of wood and non wood products as well as
other benefits are available. One of the most common
uses of trees biomass is firewood [20].
In many developing countries people rely on wood for
cooking and heating. Quite often fuel wood is obtained
from salt tolerant trees and shrubs, which may include
species of Prosopis spp ., Tamarix sp p., Salsola spp.,
Atriplex spp. and Suaeda spp. In addition species like
Tamarix aphylla, and T. africana could provide good
quality wood and also contribute to charcoal production
In areas of moderate to high salinity, highly salt toler-
ant species, especially within the genus Acacia , which
may have fuelwood value, may be used. The use of
woody halophytes like mangrove as a source of charcoal
for many years is a good example of using halophytes as
fuel crop. Nevertheless, the anthropogenic impact, par-
ticularly the overcutting of these mangrove trees for
wood, is increasing desertification in these areas [20].
4.5. Medicinal Uses
Many workers have reported the medicinal uses of halo-
Biodiversity of Halophytic Vegetation in Chott Zehrez Lake of Djelfa (Algeria) 1533
phytes while describing the economic importance of
plants [21,22]. Halophytic plants are known to provide
relief in the following diseases: Limonium spp.: Stop
bleeding, promote urination and astringe; Glycyrrhiza
spp.: Stop coughing, clean lungs; Apocynum venetum:
Reduce blood pressure, strengthen heart and promote
urination; Nitraria spp.: Normalize menstruation, pro-
mote blood circulation, help digestion and strengthen the
spleen; Atriplex halimus: Antidiabetic effects; Plantago
spp., Zygophyllum spp.: Flu and cough; Salsola tetrandra:
Vermifuge; Plant ago major: Diuretic [14].
5. Restoration
Globally, the ecology and importance of Chott lake eco-
systems have been largely neglected. Chotts are probably
the most poorly understood ecosystems, being neither
good land, nor good water. Despite the status of Chott
Zehrez as a Ramsar site, the main threat to its conserva-
tion is the private nature of surrounding land holdings in
addition to the lack of knowledge and awareness by the
local population of the importance of chott ecosystems.
The development of any Chott conservation strategy in
Algeria is also hindered by the lack of coordination be-
tween the ministries of environment and agriculture, as is
common in many Mediterranean countries [1]. Further-
more, engaging local stakeholders in the development of
conservation strategies often occur in the absence of any
consideration of biodiversity issues. In Algeria for in-
stance, there is no restriction on farmers to grow crops
next to the Chott, neither is there a limit to livestock
numbers. Therefore, continuing degradation by grazing
and cultivation is resulting in the loss of habitats and
associated species.
The local authorities should consider stricter control
on damaging activities to these plant communities such
as vegetation removal, cultivating or grazing. At the
same time campaigns promoting the value of such eco-
systems, the involvement of local communities and edu-
cational programs are necessary to raise local awareness
and assist in the long term conservation of these ecosys-
It is concluded that salt marshes are an integral com-
ponent of the Chott lake ecosystem, serving as important
areas of primary production for inland food chains. They
are also an important habitat for the production of graz-
ing animals. However, the diversity of the halophytes
and other natural recourses in the salt lake in Algeria are,
unfortunately, facing dangerous impacts due to the un-
controlled human interference. Many plant, animal,
bird’s species are either endangered or even exterminated.
Such bad environmental situation and interference need
urgent solutions through the conservation and sustainable
use of the halophytic vegetation and its ecosystem in the
salt marshes by applying several approaches such as:
1) Preserve the genetic resources of these species in
the Algerian National Gene Bank,
2) Restoring the endangered species in its habitats,
3) Cultivating the economic halophytes species or
crops of salinity resistant in habitat by using saline and
brackish water of the lakes, and
4) Cultivating the multi-purposes halophytic species.
The feasibility of growing halophytes on salt Chott can
be maximized with plant species that in addition to its
primary product can also provide indirect and economi-
cal benefits.
The conservation and sustainable utilization of Chott
lake ecosystem can be achieved through the development
of appropriate legislation and laws to improve local
community participation in decision-making, regulating
access and utilization of rangelands. In addition, infor-
mation and dissemination systems, and cooperation and
coordination mechanisms should be established among
national institutions.
6. Conclusions
Chott Zehrez lake, located in the north of Algeria, is a
good example as a Ramsar site of international impor-
tance. The future conservation and management of the
site therefore, require more detailed knowledge of their
ecology and biodeversity. This review summarized the
benefits and the constraints of halophytes and other
salt-tolerant plants as economic potential resources in
Chott Zehrez lake. It is concluded that:
Halophytes and salt-tolerant species yield high edible
biomass in saline lands where non-halophytic species
cannot grow.
The study has provided a clearer vision and recom-
mendations to researchers and policy makers with re-
gard to underutilized halophytic species and the im-
portance of exploiting the potential of same in the fu-
In the view of the previous forecasts, it is necessary to
emphasize that Chott lake ecosystem in fact demands
urgent management action to conserve its threatened
and unique ecosystem.
7. Acknowledgements
This research was financially supported by Algerian
Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
(Projects PNR and CNEPRU No. F-02820100012).
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