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Sustainability 2009, 1(4), 1012-1022; doi:10.3390/su1041012

Sustainable Development in Northern Africa: The Argan Forest Case

1
Laboratoire de Chimie des Plantes, Faculté des Sciences, Université Mohammed V-Agdal, BP1014, Rabat, Morocco
2
CNRS-UMR6229, 51 Rue Cognacq Jay, 51100 Reims, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 August 2009 / Accepted: 6 November 2009 / Published: 9 November 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Forum for Sustainable Development)
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Abstract

The argan tree is a slow growing tree exclusively endemic in the dry lowlands of Southwest Morocco. The argan forest constitutes a long time ignored specific biotope that has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1998. The argan forest is particularly fragile to climate change. Forecasts show annual precipitation levels and prolonged drought periods that could severely threaten the future of the argan forest. In some places, the argan forest is already damaged, resulting in the retreat of the argan tree and the subsequent desert encroachment. An acceleration of this trend would have devastating consequences. In response, some twenty years ago, an ambitious, unique in Northern-Africa, and government-supported program was initiated in Morocco to rescue the argan tree via the sustainable development of the argan forest. Because in the late 1980s, sustainable development in developing countries was often considered as a utopia, the argan forest case represents a sign of progress, as it is also an interesting and unique experience in Africa. This review analyses the process followed, the measures taken, the pitfalls encountered, and the results obtained during the last two decades. It also points out the measures that still need to be taken before declaring the argan forest rescue mission is accomplished.
Keywords: argan forest; argan oil; Amazigh; woman cooperative; Morocco argan forest; argan oil; Amazigh; woman cooperative; Morocco
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Charrouf, Z.; Guillaume, D. Sustainable Development in Northern Africa: The Argan Forest Case. Sustainability 2009, 1, 1012-1022.

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