The mountainous regions of Morocco contain extensive areas of forest, including large stands of cork oak, evergreen oak, juniper, cedar, fir, and pine. Except for areas under cultivation, the plains are usually covered with scrub brush and alfa grass. On the plain of Sous, near the southern border, is a large forest of argan, thorny trees found principally in Morocco. Moroccan wildlife represents a mingling of European and African species. Of the animals characteristic of Europe, the fox, rabbit, otter, and squirrel abound; of predominantly African types, the gazelle, wild boar, panther, baboon, wild goat, and horned viper are common.
Three general types of soil are found in the semihumid part of Morocco. They are harcha, poor, stony soils with little humus (organic matter); hamri, red soils produced over limestone bedrock with some humus; and tir, sandy-loam, brown-to-black soils with moderate amounts of humus. The densest agricultural settlement is on the most fertile tir soils of the plains. The southern part of the country is mainly desert.
Population pressures have led to soil erosion and desertification as marginal lands are farmed and ground cover is destroyed by overgrazing. Morocco has a low rate of deforestation relative to other African countries, however. Forests cover 9.8 percent (2005) of the country’s area.
The country uses more than 90 percent of its fresh water for agricultural production. Available drinking water has been further limited by pollution of freshwater sources with raw sewage and industrial waste. Periodic droughts contribute to water shortages in some areas of the country, and the problem of water scarcity is expected to worsen as Morocco’s population continues to grow. Reserves and national parks cover 0.80 percent (2004) of Morocco’s total land area. The country is home to 50 threatened animal species. Morocco has ratified international agreements protecting biodiversity, endangered species, wetlands, and the ozone layer. The country has also signed treaties limiting hazardous waste and marine dumping. "Morocco" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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