Improvement of pastoral activity in the Toubkal National Park (Morocco) by the Fondation Biotope

26/04/2021

In the context of a call for projects by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the Fondation Biotope submitted a proposal concerning the improvement of the practices and organisation of pastoral activity in the Toubkal National Park (in the High Atlas of  Morocco), for sustainable management of heritage resources and traditional landscapes.

That subsidy was awarded to the Fondation d’Entreprise BiotopeThe study started in 2020, will finish in 2021, and has been carried out with the support of our  Moroccan subsidiary BIB.

The results of the study will benefit the Toubkal National Park (the “PNTb”) and its ambition is to improve the management of pastoral activity in the Park.

review of the agro-pastoral system implemented in the PNTb appeared necessary to the Biotope Foundation following discussions with the National Park’s directors. In partnership with the farmers, the authorities and the technical teams, the Foundation and our subsidiary BIB are currently putting the following actions in place within the park:

  • Carrying out a participatory diagnosis of the habitats and agro-sylvo-pastoral practices in the central area of the PNTb ;
  • Defining and implementing a new distribution of the flocks in relation to the  fodder resources of the rangelands, the biodiversity (natural environments) and current practices in the central area;
  • Raising awareness among farmers and training them in good farming practice.

The main activities in this project comprise: Diagnosis carried out by expert ecologists and scientists – Surveys and consultations of farmers and local authorities – Discussions and technical workshops organised together with the National Park manager, the farmers, and the main representatives of the local communities – Training courses organised with the National Park staff  – Co-construction and development of a Commitment Charter for sustainable pastoral activity within the National Park.

This project fits perfectly with the challenges and the priority actions of joint management and sustainable enhancement of natural resources defined in the ten-year plan (2019 – 2028) for the Toubkal National Park.  It also contributes to the achievement of concrete objectives, in complete harmony with the manager’s action programme and the investment priorities of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.

The key areas for biodiversity in Morocco

There are 36 biodiversity hotspots on our planet Earth. The Mediterranean basin is one of those, that is to say, one of the rarest and most threatened ecosystems in the world and one of the most critical. In addition to its plant diversity, the Mediterranean basin is home to a remarkable variety of wildlife.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund , a finance initiative supported by seven large backers, has as its objective the conservation of the biodiversity hotspots, including the 36 most significant areas, in order to preserve terrestrial biodiversity worldwide.  The organisation has identified priority biodiversity corridors, 17 of which are in the “Mediterranean basin” hotspot.  Morocco has 5, including three that are unique to Morocco, namely, the Atlas Mountains, the Atlantic coastal plains, and the Rif.

The Toubkal national park, key area for biodiversity

The PNTb is a natural site that is renowned in Morocco for its biodiversity and its original and individual landscapes.  It has a wealth of eco-system services sustaining the many natural resources necessary for the local population’s developments in a region that is economically important for Morocco.  However, its conservation and the sustainable use of its natural resources, in particular species of flora and certain  ecosystems, remain a formidable challenge. The natural resources are limited and the impacts and pressures related to their use for economic activities (agriculture, pastoralism, tourism, etc.) clash with the conservation objectives.  The production of detailed diagnoses and the mobilisation of the stakeholders, through consultation activities, facilitate the definition of plans for improving the conservation of the species on this site, in conjunction with the economic activities.

 The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund

https://www.cepf.net/

The CEPF is a joint initiative by the Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. Its fundamental aim is to ensure the commitment of civil society to the preservation of biodiversity.

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