Tassili N'Ajjer

This biosphere reserve is located in the south-eastern part of the Algerian Sahara close to the borders to Niger and Libya.

Declaration date: 1986
Surface area:
7,200,000 ha
Administrative division: Parc national de Tassili



Human Activities

The total population of the plateau was approximately1,000 to 3,000 in 1986. The area is very sparsely inhabitedby sedentary and nomadic Tuaregs who are living fromstock rising and agriculture. Tourism has become an importantsource of income for the local population. Howeverlitter and the destruction of archaeological artefacts poseproblems to the area.

Ecological Characteristics

The Tassili plateau (1,500 to 1,800 meters above sealevel), forms part of the Ordovician and Devonian sandstonelayer surrounding the Precambrian crystalline massif ofthe Hoggar. The plateau is hyper-arid, but there are subaridmicroclimates suitable for the survival of relict Mediterraneanfauna and flora. The most notable tree species isthe cypress 'tarout' Cupressus dupreziana, wild olive Olealaperrini and myrtle Myrtus nivellei. The site also hosts arich inventory of fauna and archaeological, historical,cultural and geologic features - the reason for its designationas national park and world heritage site. Ancient cavepaintings and rock engravings of large fauna such as hippopotamusand buffalo are of international importance.

Mountains supporting a relict flora with elements of Mediterranean,Sudano-Deccan and Saharo-Sindien species suchas tarout cypress (Cupressus dupreziana), wild olive (Olealaperrini) and myrtle (Myrtus nivellei); wadis; permanent ortemporary waterholes after rainfall ("gueltas"); river-bedhabitats including Trianthema pentandra, Silene kiliana,Lupinus pilosus and Convolvulus fatmensis; humid valleyincluding riverine species such as Typha spp., Juncus spp.,Phragmites spp. and aquatic species such as Chara spp.,Myriophyllum spp. and Potamogeton spp.; rocky and sandyhabitats including Mesembryanthemum gaussenii, Pseuderucariaclavata and Acacia scorpioides; agroecosystems; pasture land.

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