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Gouraya Biosphere Reserve, Algeria

Gouraya Biosphere Reserve lies on the Mediterranean coast, in the Kabylie region. It is a National Park of the same name. It occupies a mountainous massif which dominates the north-west of the town of Béjaïa culminating at 672 metres (Fort Gouraya), a small calcareous massif in the western zone, and a cliff of approximately 100 ha, It also contains a wetland, Lake Mézaïa, and a marine area located at the west of the Gulf of Béjaïa.

Designation date: 1997


Regional network:  ArabMAB

Ecosystem-based network:




    Surface : 2,080 ha

    • Core area(s):  680.2 ha
    • Buffer zone(s):  162.7 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 1,157.6 ha

    Location: 36° 35’ N; 1° 55’ E

    Administrative Authorities

    Sidi Touati, Route de Gouraya
    06000 Béjaia

    Tel.: (213) 34 21 19 47


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    Ecological Characteristics

    There is rich flora and fauna as well as several historic and picturesque sites with protected species such as the tree spurge (Euphorbia dendroides) and prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus). Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) constitutes a "para-climax forest" on the limestone of Mount Gouraya, and the kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) and Ampelodesma mauritanica are the dominant species of the southern side of the massif. The northern side, with its sharp relief and imposing cliffs, has original plant communities unique to the Algerian coast. 

    The forests and maquis contain troops of barbary apes (Maccaca sylvanus) and other endangered mammals such as the jackal (Canis aureus algeriensis), wild cats (Felis sylvestris) and Algerian hedgehog (Erinaceus algirus). The marine zone includes five mammals of which four are of national importance - the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), and bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena).

    Forest characterized by Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), olive trees (Olea europea), carob (Ceratonia silica), myrtle (Myrtus communis), Pistacia terebinthus etc.; Maquis with kermes oak (Quercus coccifera), Ampelodesma mauritanicum, Phyllirea media etc.; Cliffs including species such as Asteriscus maritimus, Lotus cytisoides and Limonium gougetianum; Marine area with marine algae such as Lithophyllum lichenoides, Cystoseira ercegovicii, C. mediterranea, etc.; Freshwater lake.

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The core area corresponds to the strict reserve (reserve intégrale) of the National Park with rare and endemic flora and fauna and a cultural heritage. The buffer zones consist of two zones, which serve to protect the strict reserve. The transition area includes several tourist and other infrastructures, and 13 villages located at the periphery of the park. 

    Repeated fires and permanent human pressures on the environment and especially a lack of suitable management over the years have gradually led to a decrease in the natural regenerative capacity of the forest. 

    The Biosphere Reserve/National Park promotes scientific research projects carried out by the local university and participates in regional studies and projects initiated by the regional authority (Wilaya). The Biosphere Reserve is involved in agricultural development related to mountain and hill farming and the distribution of fruit-bearing seedlings and beehives to the local population. The permanent population is of Berber origin and includes 1,655 inhabitants distributed in 13 villages. The main economic activities are administrative, commercial and artisanal activities. Mainly elderly people practise mountain and hill farming (bee keeping and arboriculture).


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    Last updated: March 2019