RESTOR’MED FORESTS Morocco: Forest restoration in Talassemtane National Park

The first results and milestones achieved by the RESTOR'MED FORESTS Morocco project for a better sustainable management of forest ecosystems show the importance of the involvement and participation of local communities.

Photo: Anaïs Loudières
Photo: Anaïs Loudières

RESTOR’MED FORESTS Morocco is one of the two national projects that currently make up the RESTOR’MED FORESTS project, which aims to carry out actions for the sustainable management of forest ecosystems in the Mediterranean basin, in order to make them more resilient and functional. At the same time, the project aims to train technical staff and raise awareness among local populations. In this line, the project involves the local population at each stage of the intervention in order to make them real actors in the development of their territory.

The Moroccan component of this project is located in the Chefchaouen region, in the Talassemtane National Park (PNTLS), a site of remarkable biodiversity. The park’s flora includes several endemic species, including the emblematic Moroccan fir Abies Marocana. However, the park is subject to constraints related to agricultural occupation of the land leading to clearing, soil erosion and desertification of forest areas, as well as the risk of forest fires.

In response to these problems, several partners have decided to combine their efforts for a forest restoration project on the site: the International Association for Mediterranean Forests (AIFM), the Regional Directorate of Water and Forests and Fight Against Desertification of the Rif (DREFLCD-R) and the Talassemtane Association for Environment and Development (ATED).

Field visit to the National Park of Talassemtane. Photo: Anais Loudières.

This two-year project, which began on 1 January 2021, has already yielded several results. A socio-economic and environmental study in collaboration with professors and students from the National School of Forestry Engineers in Rabat-Salé has provided a better understanding of the problems facing the PNTLS and guided the choice of the restoration site.

Thus, the local population and partners have decided in consultation to restore 15 hectares of forest on the Madissouka site in the PNTLS, including maritime pine but also Abies Marocana. After a digging session in December 2021, the maritime pine was planted with the help of the local population in January 2022. At the same time, they participated in an awareness-raising workshop to sensitise them to the importance of forest ecosystems.

The project is supported by the EDF Group Foundation, the SUD PACA Region, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

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International Association for Mediterranean Forests
The International Association for Mediterranean Forests (AIFM), founded in 1996, has for purpose to facilitate knowledge, experiences and ideas exchange on Mediterranean forest landscapes with a cross-field, multidisciplinary and international approach.