Morocco is a country situated in the scope of Med-O-Med program, geographical and culturally. That is why and with the objective to use them as reference for the different research and catalogues created by the program, that we present this data for the country in different subjects:
MAIN PHYTOGENETIC RESOURCES OF MOROCCO AND THE MAIN THREATS
There are 4,500 plant species in the country, of which 1,000 are at risk of extinction. The woodland ecosystems comprise natural formations of leafy trees (holm oaks, cork oaks, etc.) and conifers (Aleppo pine, black pine and cedar) at the different bioclimatic levels. The oaks mostly grow on plains and foothills, while the cedar forests are to found at greater altitudes. The Moroccan fir only grows at high levels in the west around Chaouen (Rif).
Forests in Morocco occupy about 9 million hectares (9,077,195 ha), about 8% of the national territory. The harsh climate is a risk for biodiversity but the main risks are anthropogenic. Farming, forestry, fishing and tourism form the backbone of Morocco’s economic and social policy. The increase in human population, urbanisation, changing farming practices, overfishing, excessive forest exploitation, transport, mass tourism, invasion by exotic species and fires are some of the main threats for the country’s biodiversity. (3rd National Report and NBSAP).
These threats have destroyed the natural habitat for many species, endangering the viability and natural evolution of some species. Morocco’s forests have decreased by 245,350 ha over the last 10 years and the average rate of disappearance of woodland ecosystem plant cover caused by illegal deforestation and over-exploitation stands at about 31,000 ha per year.
STATUS OF IN-SITU AND EX-SITU CONSERVTION
There are 10 National Parks in Morocco: Toubkal, Tazekka, Sous Massa, Al Hoceima, Talassametane, Ifrane, Alto Atlas Oriental, Bas Draâ, Dakhla and Khnéfisse, with a total surface area of 2,649,560 ha. There is also a network of 160 sites of biological and ecological interest, 20 of which are RAMSAR sites. A total of 168 areas in Morocco have been proposed for protection.
Moreover, the country has established measures to limit the introduction of exotic species, such as controls at entry points, and to hold back invasive species, such as control of movements of species within the country. Plans in force to reforest degraded areas.
Preservation of genetic resources is one of the country’s priorities. One of the current initiatives is the creation of germplasm banks, with the aim of regenerating the status of species at risk of extinction and restoring deteriorated habitats. A number of institutions are working on ex-situ biodiversity conservation in Morocco, some of which are mentioned below.
Those that are associated with research centres and/or do their own research include the Agdal Scientific Institute, I. A. V. botanic garden in Rabat and the Botanic Garden of Fez,which is associated with the Faculty of Science in Fez. Other gardens that are adapted more to tourism or recreation are the Sidi Bouknadel or Rabat-Sale Exotic Gardens, the Jardin Majorelle, the Jardín d’Essais and the Menara Garden.
Centers of plant diversity
Morocco is in North Africa and has coasts on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It is separated from Europe by the Strait of Gibraltar. It has four mountain ranges – the Rif, the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas. The highest mountain is the Toubkal at 4,162 metres. Between the Rif and the Medium Atlas is the Sebou valley. From Larache to Agadir is a plateau at an altitude of over 500 metres. The Sahara Desert begins to the south of the Anti-Atlas.
The climate is Mediterranean, with winter rainfall (between 300 and 800 mm, and reaching 1,000 mm in the Tangier-Tetouan region) and January temperatures of 12-13ºC on the coast and 10ºC in Fez, Meknes, Oujda and Marrakesh. July temperatures are about 25ºC on the coast and in some inland places. In the mountains rainfall is heavier and temperatures are lower. The Sahara has a desert climate.
The predominant biome in Morocco is Mediterranean forest, which has been divided by WWF into three ecoregions: North African Mediterranean forest, in the north; Mediterranean shrub steppes in the east-centre; and Mediterranean dry forest and succulent scrub (acacia and argan) to the south-east. North African montane conifer forest is also present, as are juniper steppes in the High Atlas, and northern Sahara steppes in the south-east. The predominant species are holm oak, cork oak, cedar and pine.
Morocco is a country situated in the scope of Med-O-Med program, geographical and culturally. That is why and with the objective to use them as reference for the different research and catalogues created by the program, that we present this data for the country in different subjects: This post is available in: English Español