Morocco is undoubtedly the most forest of the Maghreb countries. The Moroccan forests, the total surface of which must vary from 1.8 to 2 million Ha., Are, in fact, distributed in a few large, very distinct masses without any connection between them. The still existing forests are, in reality, the debris, still quite imposing, of larger and more vigorous massifs, today unfortunately, disappeared under the convergent action of man and the climate (warming and deforestation).
We rarely find copses or if they exist, it is with the hand of the man who allowed himself some small wood of eucalyptus, cypress pines or others to trade wood precisely, that they owe it. . From a quantitative point of view, the species are distributed in the Kingdom, very approximately as follows: oak-Cork 250,000 hectares, Thuya 450,000 ha, cedar 150,000, argan tree 450,000, holm oak 400,000 and various 200,000 (juniper , cypress, pine, eucalyptus, walnut and other secondary species). In Morocco, we pass abruptly from the forest to the bushy state, to agricultural land or to the steppe.
Far from the beaten track, the Middle Atlas offers a completely authentic face of Morocco, between mountain landscapes, cedar forests, pure green oak groves of Dir, fields of flowers, lakes, streams, waterfalls and beautiful and original small villages with authenticity. Berber. The region of Aïn Leuh, a pretty village just like these, 25 km south-west of Azrou has sites representative of bioclimatic, semi-arid (mixed cedar groves with holm oak and Asylvatic grass), sub-humid ( green oak grove with oxyhedron), and humid (pure green oak grove of Dir). This great geographic and climatic diversity gives it exceptional environmental richness. Aïn Leuh ô paradox means the “source of wood”.
However, this national treasure remains very threatened, tells us through a written rant, a citizen of this beautiful region, Samir Tayeb not to name him. This hardened mountain dweller, denounces the mafias who empty their precious woods, the forests of the Atlas by thus exploiting a vein, which more is a national heritage officially protected like the cedar. ” The forests of Ain Leuh are subjected to the good will of organized gangs and the timber mafia. From this rostrum, we call on the authorities concerned at local, regional and national levels to react against environmental massacres and to strike at these gangs with an iron fist as well as those who manipulate state property for other purposes. that of their reason for being “.
With broken sticks, Samir Tayeb tells us that about ten kilometers from the village is the cedar grove which is plagued by logging, chainsaw and looting and that in his humble opinion these actions would not be done without it. tacit consent of the local authorities. At the edge of the road, the hundred-year-old cedars stand majestically, but you only have to enter the cedar groves to see the damage that the cutting and splitting have caused in this beautiful region of the Middle Atlas, one of the most beautiful in the Kingdom.
Normally, the exit of wood (cedar, cypress, poplar, walnut) in the region is strictly prohibited, not even that of trees uprooted by the weather. No authorization to do so can therefore be granted to operators regardless of their quality. But unfortunately, these acts are carried out in secret, and with the most total impunity. And to question oneself, as to how the transport of these cut cedars and their commercialization or rather their commercialism.
Because bringing the wood from the tree in the forest to the sawmills or joineries in Azrou, Meknes, Fez or elsewhere, in addition to being an expensive operation, could not be done without the knowledge of the authorities. This requires good organization and an operating system which even broken down into elementary operations (skidding, felling, cutting, splitting, opening of skidding tracks using roads which are nevertheless controlled, etc.), cannot be done without this being known.
But if it is a fact in these places, defending the trees and particularly the cedar, by denouncing the mafias which exploit this vein, what is more, is a protected national heritage, can prove to be a perilous exercise, especially when the interests some mafiosi with long hands are at stake. Tayeb denounces this greed which has not spared him lately and tells us about his case. ” I have trees on the edge of my property that are over 75 years old, cypress trees that my late father had planted. Even these, were not spared I was surprised on my return from hospitalization to find about fifteen killed with a chainsaw. Since then it’s been a pain “.
The roadside trees that form the fence on this part of the road are within his property and what is more were planted by his family to delimit it. Unfortunately the commune of Aïn Leuh has simply monopolized it to sell it at auction, without the presence of the real owner for the modest sum of 4,500 dhs whereas in principle, they are worth millions. This nameless expropriation has been done gradually over time according to our interlocutor.
The local authorities asked him for the first time to prune his trees. Tayeb did not refuse to prune them but this operation, which required authorization from the local authority, was never handed over to him despite the promise of said competence. One fine day, a document signed by the secretary of the commune reached him, but without any legality in this regard. Samir Tayeb may have lodged a complaint but no follow-up was given to him, ditto after he surrendered to the prefecture of Ifrane. Even the Municipal Council of Meknes, yet miles from a village that nothing links, got involved, appropriating the trees to the town of Aïn Leuh.
The latter, once considered one of the richest in the Kingdom, has recently seen its headquarters be deprived of water, electricity and telephone because the cash registers are empty. And Tayeb to tell us more bitterly this other anecdote which says everything about a catastrophic communard management.
” There were very beautiful colonial style chalets inherited from the protectoratein Aïn Leuh. They were the property of the Ministry of the Interior which rented them for vacationing purposes (summer, wintering …), by maintaining them and by organizing themselves in such a profitable way that many people came from the four corners of the Kingdom in were taking advantage. The ministry ceded them to the commune. Evil took him. Today they are in a sorry state, ransacked and the word is weak, these marvels of dwellings have been looted, ravaged, windows, roofs, nothing has resisted human greed “.
It’s pitiful, he continues. ” Of the vestiges of the protectorate, there is hardly anything left in Aïn Leuh, even the trees planted at that time in the village and which were his pride, such as poplars or other weeping willows, have disappeared, cut down without any mercy for their nobility by the communards “. Worse still tells us, Samir Tayeb ” even the firewood that was distributed against a certificate of indigence to the needy is no longer made in Aïn Leuh. Where are we going ? Who to rely on ? “. Questions that are likely to remain unanswered for a long time as long as some of those responsible look elsewhere while the forest blazes.