Through national and regional environmental authorities, Morocco is seeking to enhance its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan in order to achieve Aichi targets and to implement the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, among other elements of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Morocco faces the challenge of preventing a continuous decline of plant diversity while encouraging rural people to benefit economically from wild-crafting and value-adding activities. Local livelihoods are responsible for maintaining the ecological integrity of Important Plant Areas, and this highlights the importance of embracing sustainably-managed commons and other cultural practices that enhance plant conservation.

Moroccan hotspots

Threatened Flora

We conducted a conservation assessment of the endemic Moroccan monocotyledons (10% of the total endemic flora) which revealed a very high extinction risk; 94% species were found threatened [20% Critically Endangered (CR), 49% Endangered (EN), 25% Vulnerable (VU)] and only four species (6%) are not in a category of threat [3% Near Threatened (NT) and 3% Least Concern (LC)], much over the global media (REF).

IUCN assessments showed that the greatest number of threatened endemic monocot species (CR, EN and VU) occur in the following floristic regions: Atlas (High Atlas, Anti Atlas and Middle Atlas), Rif Mountains and coastal areas of the North Atlantic and the Middle Atlantic of Morocco. The families that were most threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable) are: Poaceae (27 species, i.e. 93% of the endemic species), Amaryllidaceae (12 species, 100%), Asparagaceae (7 species, 100%), Iridaceae (6 species, 66.6%), Cyperaceae and Orchidaceae (two species each, 100%), Juncaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae (one species each, 100%).

The main conservation threats are habitat loss and degradation, direct and indirect human disturbance, changes in vegetation dynamics, climate change and species' intrinsic factors. More specifically the most severe threats are overgrazing, climate change, drought, agriculture intensification, deforestation, tourism and recreation activities, overharvesting, urbanization and infrastructure development. Other less prevalent threats are fires and pollution.

Ex situ conservation

Conservation Actions

Conservation actions are required to address the continuous decline of the Moroccan flora and to preserve local biodiversity hotspots. A number of measures can be taken to enhance conservation: species and habitat management and protection, monitoring and research, communication and education conducted through a participatory approach.

Species management and protection: In situ conservation can be achieved through legal protection of the habitat, recognition of community-based landscape and resource management systems, effective participatory monitoring, designation of different categories of protected area, land use management changes and zoning decided in collaboration with local communities, habitat restoration and development of species recovery plans. Ex situ conservation can be implemented via the cultivation of threatened species in community nurseries, seed collection for the long term conservation of genetic resources and reestablishment of wild population through reintroduction of the species to their natural habitats (enrichment planting).

Site and habitat protection: : implemented in a participatory manner with local communities, can take many forms, e.g. establishment of a rotation system for pasture to reduce overgrazing, pastoral and silvo-pastoral improvement by creating collective sites, limitation of grazing seasons through community-sanctioned mechanisms, development of water points for livestock to reduce the impact of trampling and finally support for, and strengthening of, community-based landscape and resource management systems locally known as agdals.

Monitoring and Research : Monitoring and Research: Monitoring of the species, habitat status and constant evaluation of management practices are necessary to evaluate the success of management plans and conservation actions. These can be carried out using highly participatory approaches with local communities, thus ensuring local collaboration towards conservation objectives.

Communication and Education:Communication and Education: Achieving successful conservation results depends on the participation of local people, the improvement of local livelihoods through participatory natural resource management approaches, and the development of appropriate environmental education programmes. This requires staff training, institutional strengthening, the development of local human resources, collaboration and stakeholder engagement specifically from and between Ministry of Water and the Environment, Forest administration (Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forets), NGOs, scientists and local communities.

Threats drivers