Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Benefiting from various types of ecosystems, Morocco is home to species that have disappeared from other parts of the world, such as the Mediterranean monk seal, the bald ibis, and the argan tree. Arthropods dominate Morocco’s fauna and constitute 73% of inventoried species, but 40.5% of them are threatened. Other threatened species include the lion, the gazelle, the ostrich, and the mouflon. Regarding Morocco’s flora, 4500 plants are known to exist in the country and 1000 of them are endangered species. 3% of the forest cover is currently protected and the country has 24 Ramsar sites. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and tourism represent the basis of Morocco’s economic and social policy. The increase of human population, urbanization, inadequate agriculture practices, overfishing, transport, mass tourism, exotic species, and fires are some of the threats to the country’s biodiversity. (3rd National Report and NBSAP)
Forest ecosystems are composed of natural formations of leafy trees, (Holm, Oak, Cork, Tauzin Oak, Argani, Oleaster) and of coniferous trees (Cedar, Aleppo pine, Coastal Pine, Black pine, and Thuya) distributed among the different bioclimatic levels from semi-arid to humid. Oak plantations occupy the plains and foothills of mountains, while the cedar groves (Coastal Pine and Black Pine) are located in higher regions. The only Moroccan fir tree is found in the heights of Western Rif in the region of Chaouen. In the south, endemic argon trees are found in the semi-arid and arid zones and constitute, with the Acacia, the species most adapted to aridity.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
There are 10 National Parks (Toubkal, Tazekka, Sous Massa, Al Hoceima, Talassametane, Ifrane, Haut Atlas Oriental, Bas Draa, Dakhla and Khnéfisse) whose surface is of 2.649.560 of hectares. There is also a network of 160 sites of biologic and ecological interest (SIBE), created as a result of the Study of Protected Areas of Morocco, whose surface is of 1.080.000 of hectares.
Percentage of Forest Cover
The forests of Morocco (including the Alfa steppes) cover some 9 million hectares (9.077.195 ha), which represents about 8% of the national territory.