This chapter reviews the status of desertification in Morocco. It is divided into three parts. (i) the general context (ii) causes of desertification in Morocco (both proximate and the root causes and (iii) efforts to combat desertification and land degradation (past and planned).
In Morocco, the process of desertification affects large areas. It is more pronounced because the climate is arid and soils are vulnerable to erosion. Also, precariousness of life of the rural populations pushes them to overexploit the natural resources to satisfy their increasing needs, which accentuates the deterioration of surroundings.
The sectoral approach adopted to attenuate the natural resources deterioration showed its limits because of the increasing amplification of the deterioration. This situation incited the public powers to adopt new orientations of development that result in the strategy of rural development. In this context Morocco finalized a National Action Program (NAP) for Combating Desertification (CD) which constitutes an important stage in the process of its commitments within the UNCCD. The NAP-CD is conceived to promote a strong articulation and a synergism between the sectoral programs through actions of support and accompaniment of the process of combating desertification. Specifically, there is support of actions that promote income-generation, combat the desertification and attenuate the effects of drought, and reinforce the network of monitoring systems. For the implementation of NAP, the institutional mechanism of coordination has been set up) a mechanism for follow-up and assessment of impacts of projects and different ecosystem observations have been initiated. The success of NAP-CD as political engagement and as tool of programming of concrete and innovative actions of intervention and implementations will require the mobilization of all available energies.
Proven practices to arrest and reverse land degradation in all of its forms have been implemented in every region of the country. These include developement of systems of livestock/rangeland integration that provide additional forage and fodder and at the same time increase then cover of plants that can protect the soil, increase carbon sequestration. Several soil conservation technologies have been developed in Morocco and are available for large diffusion but in many cases these technologies have not been permanently adopted. It seems that a large-scale dissemination of these new practices requires some financial incentives that must be sufficiently high to stimulate farmers to adopt the technologies.