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The land use patterns and rural settlement in the Benghazi plain

Hajjaji, Salem A. (1969) The land use patterns and rural settlement in the Benghazi plain. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The triangular-shaped benghazi plain lies in the north western part of the cyrenaican peninsula. It is a wave-cut platform, with slight undulations in the northern part or Es-Sahel and almost level terrain in the south or Barga El Hamra. The escarpment which marks the plains eastern boundary is a fault-line scarp, dissected by numerous short, deep wadis, very few of which reach the sea; the majority disappear into the underlying Miocene limestones. Climatically, the Benghazi plain lies within the semi-arid zone. underground water resources are meagre and in the main, Underground water resources are meagre and in the main, except in the Benghazi- Benina area, consist of shallow layers of brackish or salty ground water. From the pedological point of view, the soils of the Benghazi plain are mostly clayey terra rossa but generally calcareous and poor in humus. The distribution of vegetation is primarily determined by the distribution of rainfall. Generally, the northern part of the plain lies within the Mediterranean woodland region, while the southern part lies within the Irano-Turanian vegatation type. The long history of this region shows that, at least since the invasion by the Beni Sulaim tribes in the 11th century, the predominant land use type is shifting cultivation cereals and animal husbandry; some irrigated farming is traditional in the coastal area where underground water is available. Here the rural settlements are clustered and the farmers practise a subsistence type of farming. The rural population is dispersed in pattern and few in number; the tenure of the land is tribal or communal, but in theory is vested in the State. The agricultural development is handicapped by the scarcity of irrigation water. Thus, any future economic development must depend primarily on the availability of good water. However, the construction of El Gwarsha Sewage Purification Plant and Wadi El Gattara Water Dam will undoubtedly provide good irrigation water for at least 2,500 ha. of virgin land. The El Gwarsha Land Settlement Scheme has already been planned and initiated under the supervision of N.A.S.A. However, the El Gattara Land Settlement Project has been proposed in the conclusion of this thesis. This project is designed according to a co-operative or joint type of farming, which the author believes best suits the Bedu way of life. The most striking result of these two land settlement projects is that, if they succeed as is planned, they will provide Benghazi with its requirements for agricultural products, except meat and some grains. At present more than 80 per cent of these needs are imported from Tripolitania and abroad. In addition to these benefits, the El Gattara project will aid in the sedenterisation of the nomads and semi-nomads in the area.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1969
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:10

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