Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 167–189 | Cite as

Recent dynamics of the wet pastures at Oukaimeden plateau (High Atlas mountains, Morroco)

Original Paper


Wetlands are a very important universal heritage; in the Moroccan High Atlas mountains the geomorphology and the slopes evolution determine the existence of the numerous projecting ledges of pozzines on plateaus and oozing. This is particularly the case in Oukaimeden site located at 75 km south of Marrakesh. These wet grasslands have been developed on small surface areas supported by soils water accumulation; and close to the sources and on some banks constitute wetlands of high floristic richness, which makes them very coveted pastures by local populations. These wet pastures are highly sensitive to climatic factors. Recent climatic changes, the anthropic and pastoral pressures and the global environmental changes, affect these zones at the level of their structure (areas, soil characteristics…) and their ecological functions. In the Oukaimeden plateau, the use of aerial photography made it possible to carry out a detailed follow up of the hydraulic adjustments (dam construction in the 1970s) as well as the setting up of new adjustments (tracks, paths, drain channel) on the structure and functioning of these grasslands.


Wet grasslands Cartography Dynamic GIS Biodiversity High Atlas mountains Morocco 



This work comes from the framework of the research program «Les Agdal du Haut Atlas marocain: biodiversité et gestion communautaire de l’accès aux espaces sylvopastoraux». Many thanks for its financial support and scientific (Convention of IRD-IFB financing/INRA N 2886). We gratefully acknowledge the SudMed project carried out by the IRD and the University Cadi Ayyad of Marrakesh and the CAF (French Alpine Club) for the logistics and climatic data that they provided us.


  1. Alaoui Haroni S, Alifriqui M, Simonneaux V (2005) Altitudinal wet pastures: threats and conservation means; the case of Oukaimeden plateau (High Atlas Mountains, morocco). In: 6th international conference, European Water Resources Association, EWRA, Palais de l’Europe, Menton, FranceGoogle Scholar
  2. Auclair L (1998) Les ressources sylvopastorales au Maghreb. Structure segmentaire et appropriation communautaire. In: Sociétés rurales et environnement. G. Rossi (dir.). Karthala/GRET (éd.), Paris, pp 123–140Google Scholar
  3. Berque J (1955) Structures sociales du Haut Atlas, 2nd edn. P.U.F., Paris 513 ppGoogle Scholar
  4. Dresch J (1941) Recherches sur l’évolution du relief dans le massif central du grand Atlas, le Haouz et le Sous. Imprimerie Arrault-Tours, pp 256–259Google Scholar
  5. Galland N (1988) L’origine de la flore orophile du Maroc étude caryologique et cytogéographique; série botanique n°5 RabatGoogle Scholar
  6. Gauquelin T (1988) Dynamique de la végétation et des formations superficielles dans les montagnes du bassin occidental de la méditerranée: étude des formations a genévrier thurifère et xérophytes épineuses en coussinet des atlas marocains; doctorat d’état; université Paul Sabatier, ToulouseGoogle Scholar
  7. Hammada S, Dakki M, Ibn Tattou M, Ouyahya A, Fennane M (2004) Analyse de la biodiversité floristique des zones humides du Maroc. Flore rare, menacée et halophile. Acta Botanica Malacitana 29, Malaga, pp 43–66Google Scholar
  8. Harris JA, Hobbs R, J Higgs R, Aronson J (2006) Ecological restoration and global climate change. Restor Ecol 14:170–176. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2006.00136.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. He C, Zhang Q, Li Y, Li X, Shi P (2005) Zoning grassland protection area using remote sensing and cellular automata modeling. A case study in Xilingol steppe grassland in northern China. J Arid Environ 63:814–826. doi: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2005.03.028 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Heinimann A, Breu T, Kohler T (2003) The challenge of applying geographic information system to sustainable mountain development. Mt Res Dev 23:312–319. doi: 10.1659/0276-4741(2003)023[0312:TCOAGI]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hulme PE (2005) Adapting to climate change: is there scope for ecological management in the face of a global threat? J Appl Ecol 42:784–794. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2005.01082.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ilahiane H (1990) The berber Agdal institution: indigenous range management in the Atlas mountains. Ethnology 38:21–45. doi: 10.2307/3774085 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kraak M-J, Müller J-C, Ormeling F (1995) GIS-cartography: visual decision support for spatio-temporal data handling. Int J Geogr Inf Sci 9:637–645. doi: 10.1080/02693799508902061 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mahdi M (1999) Pasteur de l’Atlas, production pastorale, droit et rituel, 1ère éditionGoogle Scholar
  15. Ni J, Wang GH, Bai YF, Li XZ (2006) Scale-dependent relationships between plant diversity and above-ground biomass in temperate grasslands, south-eastern Mongolia. J Arid Environ 68:132–142. doi: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.05.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pazos GE, Bisigato AJ, Bertiller MB (2007) Abundance and spatial patterning of coexisting perennial grasses in grazed shrublands of the Patagonian Monte. J Arid Environ 70:316–328. doi: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.12.025 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Quézel P (1957) Peuplement végétal des hautes montagnes de l’Afrique du nord. Encyclopédie biogéographique et écologique, édition P. Lechvalier, ParisGoogle Scholar
  18. Sebastià MT (2007) Plant guilds drive biomass response to global warming and water availability in subalpine grassland. J Appl Ecol 44:158–167. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01232.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wang H, Ellis EC (2005) Spatial accuracy of orthorectified IKONOS imagery and historical aerial photographs across five sites in China. Int J Remote Sens 26:1893–1911. doi: 10.1080/01431160512331326684 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Equipe Ecologie Végétale, Sol et Environnement, Faculté des Sciences SemlaliaUniversité Cadi AyyadMarrakechMorocco
  2. 2.Projet SudMed, IRD, Faculté des Sciences SemlaliaUniversité Cadi AyyadMarrakechMorocco

Personalised recommendations