AFP quotes army sources as saying that "The body was found buried without the head in Akbil, where Gourdel was abducted by the Jund al-Khilafa [Soldiers of the Caliphate] group."
The body was found in the course of a 3,000 troop strong operation carried out to find Gourdel's remains, launched after information was provided by an Islamic militant detained by Algerian security sources.
"He is mad about mountains and never travels without his camera," a friend of Mr Gourdel told the Aujourd'hui en France newspaper, the BBC reported in September. "He is a very nice man, who loves nature and is passionate about his work," a colleague told the paper.
Prior to his death Gourdel was pictured in a video posted online by the militants, who demanded that France withdraw from a coalition of nations carrying out air strikes against IS targets in Iraq. Gourdel's murder was shown in a second video, seen by AFP, in which a spokesman for the group said his beheading was to "avenge the victims in Algeria… and support the caliphate," in Iraq and Syria to which the group had pledged allegiance on September 14.