written by Nesrine Rouini
The Mediterranean basin is a remarkable and threatened biodiversity hotspot, mainly because of its outstanding variety of plants. As a part of the Mediterranean basin, Algeria comprises an important forest biological diversity and one of its most original forest ecosystems -on both ecological and biogeographical terms- is the Guerrouch forest. The Guerrouch forest is a mixed Mediterranean forest located in the Wilaya of Jijel in the Northeastern part of Algeria and it's considered as the most wooded and the wettest region in the country. The original ecological value and high endemism rate of which flourish the Guerrouch forest give it an interesting potential to be inscribed on the world heritage sites list in the future -especially since Algeria does not have an inscribed natural world heritage site.
The Guerrouch forest encompasses in a triangular form 10859, 9ha including a relatively high curved mountain range of 20km of which the concavity faces the East. Its mountainous relief allowed the development of a dense hydrological network consisting of many important permanent wadis or rivers like Kissir wadi and Taza wadi. Moreover, the forest is furrowed by watersheds that supply the wadis.
The forest habitat supports around 461 wildlife species: 20 mammals and 131 bird species. At high altitudes lives an endemic passerine bird called the Algerian nuthatch (Sitta ledanti). The Algerian nuthatch has been discovered only in 1975 at the Babors Mountains and found at Guerrouch forest lately in 1989. It is listed as endangered on the IUCN Redlist and its range is very restricted and a big part of it includes the Guerrouch forest.
A part of the Guerrouch forest -around 3000ha- is included in a protected area: the Taza National Park; but that doesn't ensure the conservation of the entire forest. So concerned authorities have to take this in consideration and set an effective conservation action plan to it and to apply it, and eventually to start thinking to propose it for inscription in the world heritage list, in order to maintain durably its ecological function and unique biodiversity but also the ecosystem services that it offers to the rural and urban populations and national economy.