Considered to have potential as a future World Heritage Site
Location and Area: The Atlas Mountains form a contorted range along Africa’s north-western flank, where continental drift has pushed the African continent against the land mass of Europe. Although there’s no obvious candidate area for world heritage listing, a serial site might be developed by selecting an ecologically representative group from amongst the existing parks (see map).
Inscription Status: Not yet included on the Tentative Lists (2015).
Important Values: The fauna and flora of the Atlas Mountains has evolved in unique ways, reflecting the areas Mediterranean climate and proximity to Europe as well as its African heritage. The last lion may have been exterminated more than 100 years ago, but the area still retains key elements of its unique ecology, including iconic species such as the barbary macaque. There is today a growing interest in ecological restoration and new National Parks are being established to protect surviving remnants of natural habitats throughout the region. The scope for a serial site, modelled on the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas world heritage site deserves further study: the initial aim would be to identify the (existing or potential) protected areas that could provide for the long-term conservation of a fully representative sample of the habitats and species found in the Atlas range.
Slideshow of Atlas Mountains
Comparison with other sites:
Possible constraints to world heritage listing: