Explore Djebel Aïssa National Park
Declared a national park in 2003, the Djebel Aïssa National Park covers an area of around 24,400 hectares on the slopes of Mount Aïssa, rising up to a height of more than 2,320 meters above sea level, in the Naâma province of Algeria. The park is of particular importance to conservationists and researchers who study its geographical characteristics, the diversity of its flora and fauna, and the impact of climate change on the region. As the park preserves the ecosystem of the Algerian Highlands (Hauts Plateaux), on the border of Morocco, it is protected against damaging effects of pollution, uncontrolled grazing and poaching. The problems of desertification and silting are also addressed at Djebel Aïssa National Park.
There are more than 200 species of plants found in the park, some of which are prized for their medicinal properties and others which are endemic to the area. Interestingly, the climate and air quality of the area is known to be beneficial for those who suffer from asthma and respiratory diseases. Scenic forested areas include Aleppo pine trees, Atlas cedars, acacias, junipers and poplars. Protected fauna includes the hyena, fennec fox, wild cat, hare wild boar, jackal, porcupine, Dorcas gazelle, Barbary sheep and up to thirteen species of reptiles. Although the park experiences low rainfall, it has a number of mountain springs and streams which form waterholes frequented by local wildlife and more than twenty-five species of birds. From a historical point of view Djebel Aïssa has several caves and archeological sites with ancient rock carvings.
Desertification – where dry land becomes arid and loses its vegetation and wildlife – is recognized as a significant problem, both in Algeria where up to 90% of the country consists of the Sahara desert, and in other countries with desert-like regions. Desertification in Algeria has been accelerated in recent decades, primarily due to unsustainable farming methods, including uncontrolled grazing for livestock. Various land-management methods are being employed to halt the march of the desert, and research carried out in the Djebel Aïssa National Park will no doubt contribute to solutions offered.