Natural Resources and Development

Research area – Oasis of Agdz

Agdz and is a town with about 17,000 inhabitants. It is situated at the longest river of Morocco, the river DrĂ¢a, which originates in the Atlas Mountains and forms the beginning of the 150 km long oasis of the river delta. The desert region between Agdz and Mhamid is a congested area and is cultivated by the traditional Berber tribes. The main cultivation in the oases includes a variety of date palms. The replacement of traditional land use systems by modern cultivation and an increasing water demand from the growing tourism sector results in increased pressure on water and soil resources and to a decline of the local flora and fauna, which in turn leads to gradual ecosystem degradation and desertification processes. Due to various pull and push factors, many young people migrate from the rural area to the cities to access better education and look for jobs to support their families. This rural exodus is accompanied by a loss of cultural heritage, identity and traditions (e.g. the abandonment of the traditional settlements of the Berbers, which are threatened by its disintegration and the decline of the important traditional Ahwash ceremony).