MOROCCO: In Khénifra, the Atlas Cedars Biosphere Reserve will be rehabilitated

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MOROCCO: In Khénifra, the Atlas Cedars Biosphere Reserve will be rehabilitated©Unesco

With its endangered species, notably the Barbary leopard, the Atlas cedar biosphere reserve located in the moroccan regions of Béni Mellal-Khénifra, Drâa-Tafilalet and Fès-Meknès will be rehabilitated. This is part of a local initiative to protect wetlands affected by the effects of climate change.

In Morocco, the municipality of Khénifra, located 271 kilometres from Rabat, is launching the Wetlands Observatory of the Atlas Cedars Biosphere Reserve. This natural site, which has been on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage List since 2016, is made up of the Ifrane, Khénifra and High Atlas Oriental national parks in the regions of Béni Mellal-Khénifra, Drâa-Tafilalet and Fès-Meknès.

The project, initiated by the Moroccan Association for Ecotourism and Nature Protection, aims at the sustainable management and enhancement of ecosystems such as the Atlas Cedar, a 134,000 hectare vegetation threatened by global warming. Indeed, this reserve, which covers an area of 13,750 km2, is increasingly vulnerable due to logging, overgrazing and tourist activities, in addition to strong pressure on the reserve’s water resources.

The observatory’s mission will therefore be to develop partnerships with scientists and political decision-makers in order to strengthen the protection of wetlands, which play an important role in water and air quality, particularly in Khenifra. “It will be a question of getting information in time and identifying the threats to wetlands in order to identify actions to protect them, their rational use and their restoration,” says the municipality.

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This is one of the reasons why the National Commission on Climate Change and Biodiversity was created in Morocco in 2020. This commission, which is made up of local authorities, public establishments and environmental research institutions, as well as representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs), aims to improve the environmental performance of the Kingdom of Morocco, particularly in terms of biodiversity.

 Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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