Nourddine Mirhani,

DIDEM coordinator in Comoros


Born in 1977 in Mutsamudu - Anjouan - Comoros, Nourddine MIRHANI holds a PhD in Physical Geography from the University of Angers (France) and the University of Toliara (Madagascar) since 2014 and an Environmental Technician from the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Techniques (ISTE) of the University of Fianarantsoa (Madagascar) since 2003. He is a full professor at the University of Comoros where he was elected member of the board of directors and has brought his expertise to local authorities as Special Advisor to the Governors and Director of Land Management. He is currently the referent of the DiDEM Project - Chantier îles et archipels - Comores. 

Could you first tell us more about the problem of coastal erosion in Comoros? 

Like other small islands in the south-western Indian Ocean, Comoros is subject to submergence and marine erosion, which leads to the destruction of road infrastructures and houses, the reduction of agricultural land in the few coastal plains, the loss of the seaside and ecological potential of the beaches... These phenomena are likely to increase in the future due to the rise in sea level caused by global warming and anthropogenic activities such as the extraction of materials from the beaches, inappropriate development along the coastal strip, etc. 

Consequences of coastal erosion in Anjouan @ Nourddine Mirhani

Consequences of coastal erosion in Nioumachoi @ Nourddine Mirhani

How can a participatory erosion observatory address this issue?

In order to address the problem of coastal erosion in the Comoros, it is necessary to start by setting up a mechanism to prevent the hazard. The participatory observatory initiated by DiDEM responds to this need as it consists in monitoring coastal erosion in order to anticipate risks and better plan development policies. Indeed, the quantitative and qualitative data collected will provide new scientific knowledge on the spatio-temporal evolution of the coastline; it will enable the sites to be ranked according to hazard levels and to assess the degree of exposure and vulnerability of the issues at stake. The observatory will thus provide relevant information to assist managers and decision-makers in charge of coastal development. 

What motivated you to become an environmental geographer and to work on erosion? 

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my late father, who motivated me to study environmental studies and geography. This double course allowed me to assimilate interdisciplinary knowledge taking into account the naturalistic, social and economic dimensions of plant formations in watersheds and mangroves. Following the Southern Summer School on Vulnerability of Reef Heritage (EEA VulPaRe) organised by IRD in 2016 in Madagascar, I became more interested in hydro-sedimentary connectivity between catchments - shore - sea. In 2021, the DiDEM project gave me the opportunity to broaden these skills by working on coastal erosion in the Comoros, which is one of the current national concerns.  

Training in the use of the topometer in the setting up of the observatory, Anjouan @Nourddine Mirhani


Nourddine Mirhani, Aude Nuscia Taïbi, Mustapha El Hannani, Aziz Ballouche (2019). Mutations des paysages agraires coloniaux d'Anjouan. Africana studia, Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade do Porto, Le paysage colonial en Afrique, pp.69-89. ⟨hal-02984904⟩

Morandi, B., Marin, F., Urbina-Barreto, I., Comte, A., Chabi, R., Behivoke, F ., Remisy, S., Mirhani N., Uger M.,  Galuppi S.,  Bandeira B.,  Delvaux É., Lahitsiresy M. G., Manahirana J-J. , Moma L., Mroimana N. A. , Nassuf A. , Pereira J. , Rakotojanahary F., Randrianandrasana J.,  Rasolontiavina N., Remisy S. (2018). L’interdisciplinarité en pratique : retour d’expérience de la deuxième école d’été australe sur la vulnérabilité du patrimoine récifal (EEA VulPaRe 2016). Natures Sciences Sociétés, 26, 446-453.

Mirhani Nourddine (2014). Dynamiques d'évolution des géosystèmes en milieu tropical humide insulaire : Approche par les bassins versants d'Anjouan aux Comores. Géographie. Université d'Angers; Université de Toliara. Français. ⟨tel-01044456⟩

Mirhani N., Taïbi A. N., Ballouche A., Razakamanana T. (2014). Facteurs de la dégradation du régime hydrique et modèle d’aménagement du bassin-versant en milieu tropical humide insulaire, a l’exemple de Ouzini-Ajaho à Anjouan – Comores. Madamines, ISSN 2220-0681, Vol. 6.

Mirhani Nourddine, Aude Nuscia Taïbi, Aziz Ballouche, Théodore Razakamanana. De la problématique de l’eau au modèle numérique d’aménagement en milieu tropical humide insulaire : le bassin versant d’Ouzini-Ajaho (Anjouan – Comores)( 2014). Presses Universitaires d'Angers. Eau, milieux et aménagement. Une recherche au service des territoires, pp.117-134, 9782915751536. ⟨hal-01105181⟩

Mirhani, Nourddine & TAÏBI, A. Nuscia & Ballouche, Aziz & Théodore, Razakamanana. (2014). Impacts de la déforestation sur la perturbation des régimes hydrologiques des fonds de vallées de deux bassins versants de l’île d’Anjouan aux Comores. Mythe ou réalité ? Poster, Colloque international sur les zones humides à Antsirabé (Madagascar).'ile_d'Anjouan_aux_Comores_Mythe_ou_realite

MIRHANI Nourddine et ZAMIL M.Maanfou (2007). Le changement climatique dans le secteur fiherenana (sud-ouest malgache) : assèchement du fleuve, causes, impacts et stratégies d’adaptation.

MIRHANI Nourddine (2007). Essai d’analyse éco géographique de la végétation sectorielle du Fiherenana Sud-ouest malgache). Mémoire de maîtrise en géographie, Université de Toliara, 110 p.