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MONITORING TREES IN AMIZMIZ: ANOTHER WAY TO DISCOVER MOROCCAN NATURE AND HISTORY

HAF Projects Coordinator

It was with great enthusiasm that I took the road to Amizmiz a week ago to evaluate the trees distributed by the High Atlas Foundation to various farmers in this region.

Tree monitoring is a process rooted in the activities of the Foundation. This is a crucial and necessary step which allows us to assess the survival rate and the development conditions of the fruit trees distributed by the Foundation to farmers during the year 2020, and that were funded by Ecosia.

Thus, in the company of Mouaad, HAF’s Monitoring and Mapping Officer, Mohamed, HAF’s driver, and Abderrahmane, our local guide, we traveled through several villages near Amizmiz to meet a dozen farmers. It was a real pleasure to see these trees growing in good conditions and well maintained. We also discussed with the farmers different problems concerning irrigation because this year was very difficult in terms of drought. Hence the importance of the use of renewable energies (solar panels) in irrigation, since they prove to be less expensive and less polluting. But above all, solar panels can be beneficial on a large scale at the village level, and these materials can be used for needs other than agriculture.

On the other hand, this trip was an opportunity for me to discover unusual and unknown places. We stopped several times to observe a falcon or a wild pigeon flying overhead in Ait Tirghid and squirrels running across the road in Imi Isl. The mountains which surround Amizmiz offered to us an exceptional spectacle not only in terms of animal species, but also in terms of vegetal species as we saw different medicinal plants that have been used for centuries by Amazighs tribes and other very mature trees. These mountains are tourist spots where walkers can revel in the gentle nature and the exceptional landscape that the region offers.

This trip was also an opportunity to discover the very rich history of Amizmiz. From the first medieval military forts built by the Almoravids in the 10th century to the site of the forest guards built by the French, we passed  through the first mines operated in Morocco by the French in 1926. All along the road from Amizmiz to Anougal, the ruins of colonial houses remind us of the existence of the French settlers and soldiers in the High Atlas Mountains.

When I returned to Marrakech, I knew that this trip was only one of several explorations to come. While smiling, I imagined myself as Ibn Battuta of the 21st Century. What will be my next destination? What archeological, natural, and historical treasures are still waiting for me?

To be continued.