Ait Mhamed a Micro-Hotspot in the High Atlas

Ait M'Hamed is a small rural commune in Azilal Province of the Tadla-Azilal region of Morocco. The commune had a total population of 21742 people living in 3190 households. The territory of Ait M'Hamed is characterized by a high density of vegetation and a high diversity of taxa. Most importantly the commune host one of the important community-conserved areas agdals.

Ait Mhamed
Ait Mhamed map

Conservation Efforts

Local Herbarium: Floristic studies in Ait M'hamed resulted in the creation of a local herbarium containing a total of over 1,100 specimens mounted and collected by community researchers. Four sets of specimens were collected and distributed between the local herbarium of Ait M'hamed, (MARK) Regional Herbarium at Cadi Ayyad University, and (RAB) National Herbarium at the Institut Scientifique). The specimens are identified and databased.

Ex Situ Conservation: In Ait M'hamed, two community nurseries have been planted with walnut, almond and other fruit/nut trees as well as medicinal and aromatic plants. Saplings and plants are then distributed to families throughout the commune in support of their livelihoods. We are also cultivating wild and endangered species for enrichment planting in natural habitats.

Ecological Monitoring: We have been using a Line Intercept Transect (LIT) as a basis for monitoring in the site of Ait M'hamed. The objective of this approach is to assess biodiversity of the local flora and the frequency of the most common species in the area.

Capacity building: In Ait M'hamed, we have focused on capacity building for community researchers and community members on: floristic surveys, herbarium techniques, conservation assessment fieldwork, red-listing according to IUCN criteria and categories, social science data collection, ecological field techniques, managing collections with BRAHMS (Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System), seed-collecting and post-harvest handling techniques.

Floristic and conservation studies