The Mediterranean Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve was designated by UNESCO in recognition of the biological and cultural importance of the region- a region where human activity and ecological diversity have existed in a sustainable relationship proving mutually beneficial to both Man and the environment. It encompasses a diverse range of habitats and protected spaces, incorporating the pre existing biospheres of Grazalema and Sierra Las Nieves and also absorbs the Alcornocales and Estrecho Natural Parks, two areas of oustanding biological and cultural diversity.
The Biosphere also incorporates a number of important protected areas on the Moroccan side, most notably the Talassemtane and Al Hoecima National Parks and the Bouhachem Forest Reserve. Here a host of african species can also be seen, such as barbary macaque, jackal and lammergeier.
The verdant forests of the Moroccan Rif often take visitors expecting a more arid landscape by surprise – continuing into Algeria they form the most extensive forests of North Africa and are an essential barrier against the expansion of desertification processes from the Sahara region