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Biosphere reserves in Algeria: Belezma – Batna province

15 07 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geographic locations and surface areas

Location: Latitude 35° 34’ 52’’ N/Longitude 6° 01’ 38’’ E

Midpoint: Latitude 17° 48’ 48’’ N/Longitude 002° 42’ 11’’ E

 Total Area: 26,250 hectares

         - Core Area: 7,265 hectares

         - Buffer Zone: 6,518.5 hectares

         - Transition Area: 12,466.5 hectares

 

 

 

 

Designation

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 2015

Important Plant Area 2010

Important Bird Area 2001

National Park 1984

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belezma biosphere reserve is located in the North-East of Algeria and lies on the hills of Belezma Mountain Chain in the Aurès region, reaching up two thousand one hundred thirty-eight (2,138) meters of altitude. The country’s inland from desertification. It occupies twenty six thousand two hundred and fifty (26,250) hectares of land and marine habitats. The biosphere reserve is home to the Atlas cedar tree (Cedrus atlantica Manetti), the flagship species of the Aurès region and named «Arz el Atlas» in Arabic and «Bignoun» in Berber. The famous cedar endemic to Algeria and Morocco expands over seven thousand (7,000) hectares representing almost one-third (1/3) of Algeria forests. Belezma massif hosts cedar tree stands embedding remarkable genetic traits whose seeds are chased by local breeders for reforestation initiatives.

 

The stunning landscapes in Belezma and the archeological vestige attract numerous international and domestic tourists. The reserve features several archeological sites including caves and tombs witnessing the passage of ancient civilizations. These sites are the R’Hawet wawatermills, the ruins of Abdous Oued Chaâba, as well as the rock carvings of Thérchiouine to Refaa. Beyond the reserve’s territory lie places featuring world-renownedarcheological sites such as the ruins of Zana, the tomb of Imedghacen (Berber king), the ruins of Timgad and Tazoult, as well as the tomb of El Hocine and the Ksar Belezma. Each year the biosphere reserve receives approximately fifty thousand (50,000) visitors.

 

The management framework of the biosphere reserve brings together a variety of stakeholders; namely, the Directory of the Beleza National Park, Belezma Organization for the Conservation of Forests, Belezma Office of Public Works, Belezma Office for Hydraulics, Belezma Office for the Environment and the Presidents of the Communal Popular Assemblies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife

 

The rugged mountains with various altitude ranges and exposure are home to around twenty percent (20%) of the overall flora of Algeria growing in forests, thickets, lawns, cliffs, scree, mountains, rivers, caves and mines in Belezma. The dominant Atlas cedar tree grows with holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) or common holly (Ilex aquifolium L.). The biosphere hosts up to six hundred and fifty-five (655) plants of whichrare plants such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.), dog rose (Rosa canina L.) and turbith (Globularia alypum L.) and endemics such as Thymus dreatensis Batt. The site is recognized as one of the most important nesting sites of birds of prey in the Aurès Mountain Chain and besides, in its diverse habitats live three hundred (300) animal species including twenty six (26) mammal species, one hundred and twelve (112) bird species and twenty two (22) reptiles species. Several rare animal species finds refuge in the reserve such as the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), the lesser grey shrike (Lanius minor) and the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena).

 

 

 

 

 

Plants and people

 

The wood of the emblematic species of cedar is used traditionaly in weaving and agriculture. Plants thriving in the reserve are used in traditional medecines such as thyme, sagebrush species and rosemary.

 

 

 

 

 

Locals and Belezma biosphere reserve

 

The biosphere reserve is inhabited by three thousand five hundred (3,500)people, descendants from the ‘Chaouias’ tribes of Berber origin (Amazigh). Farming practices are undertaken by the locals on the mountains foothills for the production of barley and wheat. Local communities rely on grazing and more recently on beekeeping, poultry and fruit trees plantations; namely, apple, walnut, apricot and olive. They are still preserving their traditional crafts with the production of clay pottery, jewelry, and tapestry made of sheep wool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research and Development

 

Anthropogenic activities and climate change impact on the forests have been the drivers of research initiatives which focused on ecological restoration and reforestation as well as on the characterization of plants associations in Belezma Massif and its surrondings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image de prévisualisation YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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