Forest regeneration and protection

June 5, 2017

Morocco Placeholder
Morocco

Forest regeneration and protection

About the Implementing organization

Name: Federation of Associations of Toubkal

Country: Morocco

Year of establishment: 2013

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization

Description

Unlike similar, but often unsuccessful, command-and-control tactics to restore forest landscapes in other areas, the Federation has supported community-initiated land management and tree planting to combat erosion in the valley with great success. In 2009, the village of Tasloumt's local association, Ouanamrou Development and Cooperation Association, first began to tackle the increasing problem of erosion and flooding by closing off and replanting an area of the mountainside above the village in order to facilitate regrowth and reinforce the slope against erosion. Community members saw that the once forested slopes were now bare, causing rocks and debris to frequently fall during storms, damaging fields and important infrastructure, such as the irrigation canal. Seeing the effect of the deforestation on their property, the community agreed to refrain from harvesting wood and herding sheep on the slope and the Association obtained additional trees to replant along the slope. Since then, each year the protected area has been expanded higher and higher, and the community plants approximately 1000 trees in the area annually.

Following Tasloumt's success with forest regeneration, similar replanting solutions were initiated in the neighboring villages of El Moudaa (with support from a UNDP pilot project), Adad and Tamsoult. In each village, community members have together agreed to close off the degraded area and replant trees, without any external enforcement.

Nature Element

Forests / Mountains

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use

Sustainable Development Element

Disaster risk reduction

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

  

Environmental Impacts

The regeneration initiative has had a profound impact on the local ecosystem. In the village of Tasloumt alone, 7500 trees have been planted on the village's slope since 2009. In the neighboring village of Adad, 1000 trees were planted and in Tamsoult an additional 3000 were planted in their respective enclosed areas. Communities have primarily planted three varieties (pine, cypress, and opuntia cactus), though the enclosure of the area has also facilitated the natural regrowth of indigenous plants, including Genevrier thurifere (juniper).

Sustainable Development Impacts

The reinforcement of the slope through regeneration has reduced disaster risks and has helped to protect communities against the impacts of erosion, which threatened property, infrastructure, roads, and in some cases, even houses. During heavy rain and landslide events, some villages experienced the loss of entire fields--a key asset for the farming communities, often permanently. The regeneration initiative has helped to stabilize the slopes with plants that naturally anchor soil to the mountainside, thereby helping to protect from these damages during heavy rains. Previously, destruction of the irrigation canal from fallen debris often took between 2-5 days to repair, which is time that has now been restored to the community for other use. Lastly, roads that were previously obstructed from debris, preventing travel to nearby towns, market, and schools, are also now protected by the regeneration of the reinforced slopes.

Scalability

This intervention can easily be expanded to a national scale using the resources available from The Moroccan High Commissioner on Water, Forestry and Desertification Control, which offers a variety of trees for free to communities who request them. Communities are responsible for the transportation of trees, which the initiatives have demonstrated can be addressed through support from the local commune. In the Tifnout experience, the Federation has helped to connect local associations with these local and national resources. Similar processes can be scaled out to areas facing similar effects of erosion from land degradation and deforestation.

Replicability

As described, regeneration has been implemented in a total of four villages in the upper valley, after its successful demonstration in Tasloumt and El Moudaa. In the coming year, the Federation has secured support for replicating the intervention in the nine additional villages identified. The Federation has facilitated its replication by helping to connect the problem of erosion with the deforestation activity of the community itself, in order to foster a sense of community ownership of the problem, an important factor contributing to its success. In addition, while communities have expressed the challenge of competing interests between herders, who use the land for fodder, and farmers, who feel the effect of erosion, the successful implementation of enclosures and replanting in the initial four villages has demonstrated the possibility of finding a compromise that meets the needs of everyone in the community.

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