An analysis of land use within the limits of landscape units. A case study of the north-western part of the Gefara plain in Libya

Yousef S. Kajalik


The interaction between humans and their living-space should be approached as a system consisting of two sub-systems: natural and socio-economic. The system has been studied by various specialists, including geographers and ecologists. Various approaches are used in the studies, including an analysis of the way of land use within the limits of landscape units characterised by a definite potential. The method has been developed quite recently and it has not been used so far with respect to the territory of Libya. This study focuses on the north-western part of the Gefara Plain within the boundaries of the administrative sub-unit (branch of municipality) of Zuwarah. In the west, the area is bounded by the state frontier between Libya and Tunisia. The area covers approximately 5830 square kilometres. Its population amounts to 181,785, which constitutes 12% of the whole Gefara Plain population, according to the population census of 1984. The area under study was chosen due to its natural differentiation and socio-economic features. The purpose of the study was to grasp the relationship between the potential of landscape units and land use as well as to formulate conclusions aimed at optimisation of land use in the area under investigation. The study was based on an in-depth analysis of the data available in various sources as well as on the author’s own fieldwork. The satellite and air photos were also used. First, the basic components of the natural environment were distinguished and characterised. Then, the landscape units were delimited and next land use was analysed and the map of landscape use was elaborated. The basic components of the natural environment encompass: relief, lithology, vegetation, climate, soil cover and water conditions. The analysis of the abovementioned components allowed us to characterise the differentiation of the natural environment of the north-western part of the Gefara Plain.

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