Supported by the EDF Group Foundation and the SUD PACA Region, the "RESTOR'MED FORESTS Morocco" project, scheduled to last 24 months, started on 1 January 2021 and will end on 31 December 2022.
The project is located in the Tangier region, in the Talassemtane National Park, a UNESCO site and part of a transcontinental biosphere reserve (Morocco-Spain). This park stands out as the most original entity of the Rif mountain range. The park's flora includes 11 major forest species, including the endemic and emblematic Abies maroccana fir. In addition, there are 35 other endemic species, 15 very rare species and 11 rare species.
RESTO'MED FORESTS Morocco is in line with the new Moroccan national strategy "Forests of Morocco 2020-2030" announced by His Majesty King Mohamed VI on 13 February 2020. The Moroccan forestry sector is currently undergoing a major change in forestry management with four new fundamental axes: the creation of a new model based on a participatory approach, the management and development of forest areas according to their vocation, the development and modernisation of forestry professions and the institutional reform of the sector through the creation of the Water and Forests Agency and the Nature Protection Agency.
The project is based on the concept of Nature-based Solutions, developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Created in 2009, Nature-based solutions are actions that aim to protect, restore and sustainably manage natural or modified ecosystems in order to meet societal challenges while ensuring human well-being and producing benefits for biodiversity. Three types of actions are listed, including the restoration of degraded ecosystems or the creation of new ecosystems.
The project also falls within the framework of the "United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration" declared by the United Nations General Assembly. The objective of this decade is to massively strengthen the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems as a measure to fight the climate crisis and to strengthen food security, water supply and biodiversity.
Grazing in the Talassemtane National Park
The RESTOR'MED FORESTS Morocco project aims to implement sustainable management and restoration actions on Moroccan forest areas, considered as emblematic. These actions will allow these ecosystems to become healthy, resilient and functional again, and thus to adapt to climate change and contribute to the reduction of fire risks, the protection of biodiversity and the socio-economic development of local populations.
This project will result in restoration actions on 17 hectares of forest areas considered as emblematic, because a forest is only managed sustainably when it ensures, through its multifunctionality, the social, ecological and economic needs in accordance with its context. Within the limits of its capacity, it will remain resilient in the face of climate change while providing the expected ecosystem services, i.e. the direct or indirect goods and services that humans can derive from a sustainably managed ecosystem.
In addition, awareness-raising activities for schoolchildren and local populations, as well as the development of the knowledge and skills of technical forestry staff will take place.
In addition, the project will work to involve several students from the École Nationale Forestière d'Ingénieurs (ENFI) in Rabat-Salé (Morocco). The methodologies implemented and the results obtained from the project will be capitalised by AIFM and disseminated within its network before being presented at the 15th World Forestry Congress in Seoul (Republic of Korea) in 2022.
In addition to AIFM, the project is being implemented by several partners in Morocco:
- The Department of Water and Forests, represented by the Regional Directorate of Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification of the Rif (DREFLCD-R)
- The Talassemtane Association for the Environment and Development (ATED)
- The Moroccan Association of Regional Sciences (AMSR)
Pine forest in Talassemtane National Park