Eucalyptus in Morocco: gum trees in the arid lands



Eucalyptus plantation Guercif Morocco Maroc Plantacion Eucalipto Marruecos Pierre Arnaud Chouvy GIT Forestry Consulting Galicia España SpainFig 1: Eucalyptus plantation near Guercif (Morocco).
Photo courtesy of Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy (Photogeography)

Eucalyptus: Their place in Moroccan Forests

4.8 million hectares of natural forests (5% of territory).

0.5 million hectares of forestry plantations (less 1% of territory)
  • Conifers 47%
  • Eucalypts 40%
  • Broadleaved 13%

Fig. 2: Transplanting Eucalyptus at Sidi Amira clonal forestry nursery (Morocco).
Photo courtesy of Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte Contre la Désertification.

0.2 million hectares of Eucalyptus plantations (less 0.25% of territory)
  • E. camaldulensis (River Red Gum, 48%). On siliceous soils.
  • E. gomphocephala (Tuart, 41%). On calcareous soils.
  • E. sideroxylon (Red Ironbark, 4%). On clay soils and arid conditions (lower than 300 mm)
  • E. grandis (Rose Gum, 4%)
  • Other Eucalyptus species (3%): E. tereticornis (suffers in very dry years), E. globulus (not enough rainfall), E. occidentalis (on arid chloridic soils), E. robusta (ill-adapted to drought, abandoned as forestry species), trials with E. brockwayi, E. flocktoniae, E. salmonophloia and E. salubris.

Eucalyptus planting Oujda Morocco Maroc Plantacion Eucalipto Marruecos Manfred Schwedan GIT Forestry Consulting Galicia España SpainFig. 3: Soil preparation for afforestation with Eucalyptus in the Oujda Plateau (Morocco).
Photo courtesy of Manfred Schweda (This Fab Trek: Navigating Morocco)

are most common in the coastal Atlantic plains of Morocco from north of Rabat to south of Casablanca, in areas with annual rainfall ranging from 200 to 500 mm; but are also cultivated inland of the Mediterranean coast from Fez to the Algerian border (and beyond to Oran) as the images displayed here prove. They are also relatively common as specimen shade or garden trees elsewhere in the country.

With 200.000 hectares planted, Morocco ranks third among the countries of the Mediterranean Basin in what is related to Eucalyptus timber resources after Spain and Portugal.

Eucalyptus in North Africa: Looking half a century back through the eyes of Metro & Leloup

"Of French North Africa, Morocco has the largest area planted with eucalypts, estimated at about 25,000 ha. At present about 4,000 ha are being planted every year. Numerous windbreaks have also been planted (...) Certain sites are favored by their proximity to the sea. Other plantation areas lie inland and in the south of the country (...) Very few species have proved resistant to cold and snow. The upper limit for the practical use of euacalypts in Morocco seems to coincide with the lower limit of cedar distribution, about 1,500 m."

"In the neighbourhood of Algiers, especially where the species mentioned in connection with Morocco give or can give comparable results, fine specimens of the following species are found in various collections. These are less vigorous than those previously mentioned, but are of very fine habit.

E. amygdalina, E. andreana, E. botryoides (fine habit in cool coastal areas), E. bridgesiana, E. calophylla, E. cinerea, E. cladocalyx (very vigorous on the coast), E. cornuta, E. cosmophylla, E. crebra (vigorous), E. diversicolor (very fine and vigorous habit on the coast, particularly in cool areas), E. gomphocornuta, E. goniocalyx (vigorous on heights), E. hemiphloia (fairly vigorous), E. leucoxylon (fairly vigorous), E. longifolia (poor growth), E. maculata (vigorous on the coast, especially on the cooles sites), E. maculosa (poor growth), E. melanophloia (poor growth), E. melliodora (vigorous), E. obliqua, E. ovata (vigorous and thriving on heights), E. paniculata (mediocre), E. polyanthemos, E. propinqua, E. punctata (fairly vigorous on the coast on moist soils), E. raveretiana (vigorous), E. resinifera, E. redunca var. elata, E. rudis (vigorous, comparable to E. camaldulensis), E. scabra, E. siderophloia (vigorous in cool moist coastal zones), E. smithii (thriving on heights), E. trabuti (vigorous in cool moist coastal zones), E. viminalis (thriving on heights)."

Marcel Leloup/FAO (1955). Eucalypts for Planting

Note 1: remarked in bold, species with some interesting tolerance to frost
Note 2: please remember taxonomy is outdated for some taxa in this list
Advice: Crosscheck the list with Ian Barclay's Hardy Eucalyptus Database

Recommended Literature on Eucalyptus in Morocco

Les Eucalyptus au Maroc Morocco Eucaliptos Marruecos Achal el Kadmiri Fechtal Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole
FECHTAL, M. & ACHHAL EL KADMIRI, A. (Eds), 1994. Les Eucalyptus au Maroc. Caisse Nationale de Crédit Agricole. VIII, 356 pp. ISBN 9981-9796-0-0 [Paperback].


(If you are to order it from somewhere, just order two copies and send me one to Spain!)

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© 2007 Gustavo Iglesias Trabado. Please contact us if you want to use all or part of this text and photography elsewhere. We like to share, but we do not like rudeness.

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