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Important Plant Areas of Morocco

Number of IPAs: 19

Morocco covers a total area of 710,850km2 in North-West Africa.

Tress in foreground with mountains in background


Morocco covers a total area of 710,850km2 in North-West Africa. It lies in a position between Africa and Europe, which has resulted in considerable genetic exchange between these regions. This, together with the great diversity of biotopes in the country has resulted in high species diversity.

The four major mountain ranges – the Rif, the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas, and the Anti- Atlas – form an important part of the relief of Morocco, occupying 15 percent of its land area. The Moroccan climate is classed as Mediterranean and is influenced by both the Atlantic and the Sahara. Precipitation decreases from north to south and from west to east. It is high in the mountain massifs, reaching 2,000mm in the Rif, but less than 150 mm in the pre-Saharan and Saharan regions.

Plant species

The main vegetation units consist essentially of forest and pre-forest ecosystems, steppes and Saharan ecosystems. The Moroccan flora is particularly rich, with approximately 7,000 species in 920 genera and 130 families, these include an estimated 4,500 species and sub species of vascular plants. There are 951 national endemics (over 20 percent of the vascular plants). The rate of endemism is particularly high in the High Atlas and, to a lesser extent, in the Middle Atlas, the Rif and the Anti-Atlas.


Most of Morocco’s IPAs are located in mountain areas (High, Middle and Saharan Atlas); more than half of them are at elevations above 2,500m and some, like Toubkal and Jbel Mgoun, reach 4,000m. There are two coastal IPAs: Al Hoceima National Park and Maamora. 6 IPAs are included within national parks.

The countries IPAs are characterized by particularly high numbers of national endemics and stenoendemics: there are 16 areas with more than 20 such species. The richest sites for locally endemic species are Ifrane National Park (196), Toubkal National Park (164), Jbel Ayachi (75), and Jbel Bou- Naceur and Jbel Bou Iblane (92). Many of these species are stenoendemics, found only at a single site.


The main threats to Morocco’s IPAs are water stress, exacerbated by drought, overgrazing, climate change, deforestation and habitat fragmentation and isolation.

Further information

Important Plant Areas of the south and east Mediterranean region

Find Morocco on pages 22-26