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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   This biosphere reserve situated in the east of Morocco encompasses altitudes from 680 to 4,071 meters above sea level. It represents mountainous regions of the High Atlas in the north and the Anti-Atlas in the west, alluvial plains and depressions as well as stony deserts (Hamadas). This large biosphere reserve (> 7 million hectares) plays a critical role in buffering the advance of the Sahara desert. It represents a wide range of bioclimatic areas, from the humid Mediterranean area to the hyper-arid Sahara. There is a rich biodiversity in the area, which is protected from desertification and the invasion of sand by a very effective system of oases with a rich agro-diversity including date-palms. These agro-ecosystems are the backbone of the economy for the inhabitants of the oases (1,299,000 in 2000) which have settled here for a thousand years. The biosphere reserve also hosts the World Heritage Site ‘Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou’, designated for its architectural and historic value.
  Major ecosystem type   Warm desert and semi-desert; Temperate grasslands; Mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Aquatic habitats with Cyperaceae, Juncaceae and Potamogetonaceae; pre-Saharian rivers and lakes, palm oases; mountain lakes with Potamogeton pectinatus; artificial lakes; high-altitude forests including Juniperus thurifera, J. phoenicea, Quercus rotundifolia, Arenaria pungens etc.; Acacia forests dominated by Acacia raddiana and A. ehrenbergiana; desert steppes with Fredolia aretioides, Haloxylon articulatum, Gymnocarpos decander etc.; rocky habitats (cliffs and screes) including Warionia saharae, Perralderia coronopifolia, Trichodesma calcaratum etc.; sand dune habitats with Aristida pungens, A. plumosa, A. tenutana, Lotus jolyi etc.; oases (up to an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level) with agroecosystems including cereals, potatoes, olives, dates etc.; grazing areas; urban areas
  Location   29°28' to 32°09'N; 3°34' to 7°45'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   7,185,371
  Core area(s)   908,581
  Buffer zone(s)   4,619,230
  Transition area(s) when given   1,657,560
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +680 to +4,071
  Year designated   2000
  Administrative authorities   Offices Régionaux de Mise en Valeur Agricole; Services Provinciaux des Eaux et Forêts reporting to Ministère de l'Agriculture, du Développement Rural et des Pêches Maritimes; Ministère Chargé des Eaux et Forêts
  Brief description   Monitoring of climatic parameters
Selection of clones of dates for their tolerance to a fungal disease
Research on the dates palm tree
Demography, ethnic groups, history
Evaluation of cultural and architecural heritage
Evaluation of local knowledge in economy and water management
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Fungi, genetic resources, pests/diseases, plants.
  Socio-economic   Cultural aspects, demography, economic studies, social/socio-economic aspects, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Management issues.
  Contact address    
Ministère de l'Agriculture, du Développement Rural et des Pêches Maritimes
Avenue Mohamed V, Quartier Administratif - Place Abdellah Chefchaouni
B.P. 607 RABAT
  Telephone   (212.37) 76 01 02
(212.37) 76 09 93 or 76 09 33 or 76 12 99
  Fax   (212.37) 76 33 78

Last updated: 16/10/2001

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