Historical trees on the Moulay Youssef Boulevard in Casablanca were cut down over the weekend, but no one knows why.
Dozens of historical trees along the Moulay Youssef Boulevard in Casablanca have been cut down, causing outrage.
“The removal of these trees undermines the very basis of Casablanca’s urban design,” Rachid Haouch, urban design expert and professor of architecture at the International University of Rabat told Morocco World News.
“Destroying the trees is like destroying the Champs Elysees in Paris,” he added.
The ancient ficus trees are near the Arab League Park in the heart of Casablanca, built in 1919 and designed by French architect Albert Laprade.
“The park and the trees are an important part of Casablanca’s architectural history. The design reflects the architecture in places like Spain and Versailles. The ficus trees are at the heart of this design,” Haouch added.
It is unclear why the trees have been removed, and whether they have been destroyed or will be transplanted.
Morocco World News contacted Mustapha El Haya from the City of Casablanca, Environment and Green Spaces, who did not know why the trees were being cut down. He indicated the removal is being carried out by Casa Amenagements, who would be able to provide an official answer.
The representative from Casa Amenagements was not available to speak today.
Photos of the tree removal were widely shared on social media over the weekend.
“No one knows what’s going on,” emphasized Haouchi.
Haouchi suggests the road is being widened to expand the tram system.
According to Haouchi, if this is the case, it will be “a real disaster because all the trees will be destroyed, all the way up the road towards the Hassan II Mosque.”
Haouchi was particularly concerned that construction in the vicinity may also require the removal of an ancient dragon tree near the US Consulate General.
Removal of the trees has also caused outrage because of its impact on a large ibis colony. The ficus trees along the Moulay Youssef Boulevard are home to hundreds of white ibis and their nests. The birds shed feathers and drop excrements on the pavement. Some social media users have complained that the birds are disgusting and that their smell is unbearable.
According to other social media users, destruction of the nests is a “massacre.”