Algeria Geography

By | November 9, 2021

According to topschoolsintheusa, Algeria is bordered to the north by the Mediterranean, to the south by Mali and Niger, to the east by Tunisia and Libya, to the west by Morocco and the Saharawi Republic and to the southwest by Mauritania and Mali. It has four regions: the coastal mountain range, called Atlas del Tell, the region of high plateaus before the Sahara, the Saharan Atlas mountain range and the Sahara desert.

Physical geography

In its geography the massifs of Oran, Arzew and the coastal mountains of Greater Kabylia (Djurdjura, 2 328 m) stand out. In the west, between the Atlas and the Tell, the plateaus reach up to 1,200 meters in height, and in the Oran area, the orography is marked by the existence of abundant ravines and deep canyons, highlighting the Ksour and Zibar mountains. To the south of the Atlas lies the Algerian Sahara desert, which occupies most of the country’s surface and includes, to the north, the Great Western Erg and the Great Eastern Erg and, to the south, the Ahaggar massif, where the highest point of the country is located, Mount Taha (2,918 meters).


The climate is Mediterranean, in the mountainous region of the coast, dry in the region of high plateaus and semi-desert and desert in the rest. Temperatures range from -15ºC in the high mountains to 58ºC in the desert.

Flora and fauna

In the north of the country there are mainly cedars, pines, heather, strawberry trees and various species of oaks such as cork oaks or carrasqueño oak. The high plateaus are covered with alpha, a grass also called spart, which can be used to make strings or espadrilles. The Saharan atlas, for its part, is planted with cypresses, terebinths, palm trees and strawberry trees. Finally, in the Sahara there are mainly acacias that are mixed in some areas with wild olive trees.

The very deserted south of Algeria is home to a fauna composed mainly of gazelles, gerbils, desert cats, cheetahs, porcupines and lizards. In the north of the country, the fields are populated by striped hyenas, foxes, weasels, wild cats, hares, jackals and wild boars. The macaque prefers forest areas.

In winter, Algeria becomes a host country for some European migratory birds, including storks. One of the most common animals is the dromedary, locally called a camel (or white dromedary).

Forest resources

Algeria has a land area of 238 million hectares, of which 2.15 million (approximately 0.9 percent) are covered by forests (year 2000). The plantations cover 718,000 ha of that cover. Excluding the Sahara, forests occupy about 15 percent of the northern part of the country. It also has an area of 15 to 20 million hectares of grasslands, scrub and scrubland. Between 1990 and 2000, forest cover increased by around 13 percent.

The best conditions for trees are found in the northeast of the country, where rainfall is highest (up to 1,200 mm). There are forests of cork oak (Quercus suber), holm oak (Quercus ilex) and cedar. Many of these forests are degraded, as is the case throughout Algeria. In some areas, cattle ranching is a serious obstacle to regeneration. Fast-growing pine (Pinus spp.) And eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.) Forests are also found in the northeast. The largest timber resource in the country is Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), which occupies about half of the forest area. Most of the stands are scattered in the central mountains.

Apart from the state forests, Algeria has established large areas for conservation. There are four nature reserves occupying a total of 36,800 ha, seven national parks (37,000 ha), four hunting areas (50,000 ha) and two parks in the Sahara (560,000 ha). The fact that Algeria has set aside almost a quarter of its surface to dedicate it to parks and reserves indicates the importance that the country attaches to the conservation of its natural resources.

With respect to catchment areas, more and more marginal land is cultivated each year as a result of population pressure. In addition, livestock keepers graze their animals on land that ten to twenty years ago was wooded or had good vegetative cover. As a result, there are 12 million hectares threatened by erosion, especially in the steppe area, which is very fragile from an environmental point of view. Sedimentation caused by erosion reduces the storage capacity of reservoirs.

The main contribution of forests so far has probably been environmental. The quantifiable benefits certainly did not correspond to government investment in the sector. Although the extraction of wood products has tripled – from around 45,000m3 in 1978 to 200,000m3 in the early 1990s – this exploitation covers only a portion of the forest used with the rest being imported. In fact, only 18 percent of the wood that could be used sustainably is harvested. The total demand for wood products is estimated at around 1.5 million cubic meters of which the national production only satisfies 10 percent.

Forests supply a significant proportion of forage needs, although it needs to be better managed on a sustainable and economic basis to increase production, including forage, and employment.

The industrial sector of wood products is made up of large-scale public companies, which absorb 55 percent of the supply, and national industries that, together with the construction industry, absorb the remaining 45 percent. The two largest public timber companies are the Entreprise nationale de manufacture du bois et de l¿a ameublement which has 20 factories scattered throughout the country and the Entreprise nationale d¿assemblage et de préfabrication.

Algeria Geography