Socioeconomic development of Haut Atlas Oriental National Park.
Haut Atlas Oriental National Park (PNHAO) was created in 2004 with the aim of protecting the Barbary sheep, an endangered species. With a surface area of almost 50,000 ha, the park is surrounded by over 40 villages with a population exceeding 30,000 inhabitants. Despite its importance for biodiversity, the park area is now vulnerable, with a sharp decline in natural resources due to its isolation, challenging (arid) climate and the lack of an official approach to biodiversity conservation and natural resource management involving all parties.
In response to these threats, and for conservation of the Barbary sheep in particular, the project aims to stimulate socioeconomic development within the park, notably by promoting ecotourism and economic activities to generate alternative income for the local population and reduce the pressures on natural resources. The emphasis will also be on providing environmental education and engaging young ambassadors of biodiversity conservation.