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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Located in the southwest of Morocco, this biosphere reserve covers a vast intramontane plain of more than 2,560,000 hectares, bordered by the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains and open to the Atlantic in the west. The core area comprises the Souss-Massa National Park. Of main conservation interest is the endemic Argan tree (Argania spinosa). Being a relict of the tertiary era, this forest species is extremely well adapted to drought and other environmentally difficult conditions. It is currently under the threat from excessive human exploitation. The Argan tree is not only the focus for conservation, but also for research and socio-economic development. Research topics to improve the knowledge on this tree species are its usage, and its physical and socio-economic environment. Traditional uses of the Argan tree are for example forestry, pastoralism, food, medicine and cosmetics. Growing along the border of Sahara, it also functions as a buffer against desertification. The majority of the population in the biosphere reserve is of Berber origin, but Arab people are also living in the area, which supports approximately 2,374,000 inhabitants, including the town of Agadir (~899,000 inhabitants, 1994).
  Major ecosystem type   Warm deserts and semi-deserts / evergreen sclerophyllous forests
  Major habitats & land cover types   Semi-steppe Mediterranean ecosystem with Argan trees (Argania spinosa); forested and semi-forested Mediterranean ecosystem with the "Thuya de Berbérie"; semi-steppe or semi-forested ecosystems with red Juniper; agricultural land; urban zones
  Location   29°15' to 31°20'N; 8°10' to 10°25'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   2,568,780
  Core area(s)   110,000
  Buffer zone(s)   953,870
  Transition area(s) when given   1,504,910
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +2,000
  Year designated   1998
  Administrative authorities   Direction Régionale des Eaux et Forêts du Sud-Ouest (Ministry of Water and Forests)
  Brief description   Research on the Argan tree (Argania spinosa); its uses and physical and socio-economic environment
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   n.a.
  Biodiversity   Plants.
  Socio-economic   Resource use, social/socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Benzyane Mohamed
Ministère des Eaux et Forets
3, Rue Harroune Er-Rachid
  Telephone   (212.37) 67 00 97
  Fax   (212.37) 67 10 31

Last updated: 24/06/2002

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