Oasis Du Sud Marocain Biosphere Reserve – Spanning 7 Million Hectares
The Oasis Du Sud Marocain Biosphere Reserve spans over a region of seven million hectares and is vital in the battle against desertification. One of its most successful weapons against the encroaching desert are oases. The communities that live within the boundaries of the Oasis Du Sud Marocain Biosphere Reserve depend on agriculture for their livelihoods as they are not tourist or craft orientated. The over exploitation of the land, misuse of water and deforestation of the area causes a great loss of agricultural land and income.
The landscape of the Oasis De Sud Marocain Biosphere Reserve consists mainly of temperate grasslands, highland systems, desert areas (both semi-desert and warm-desert) and various mountain systems. The agricultural areas provide grazing but are mostly used for the cultivation of olives, cereals, dates and potatoes. Most of the habitats within this national reserve in Morocco are made up of Acacia forests, cliffs, lakes, mountain lakes, palm oases, sand dunes and desert steppes. The biosphere reserve in this area is dedicated to the research and awareness of the correct use of water systems, freshwater systems and ecosystems. To maintain the quality of the current water supply and to protect against the degradation of the ecosystems is vital. Some ecosystems within the Oasis De Sud Marocain Biosphere Reserve are impoverished and it is therefore important that they are rehabilitated.
The goal of the biosphere reserve, as with many national parks in Morocco, is to enhance research on date palm trees, study the history of the area, provide education and assistance to communities in regard to the correct use of water and agricultural cultivation and to monitor the growth of the reserve. It has been shown that the encroachment of the Sahara Desert is only one threat to the area. The use of incorrect farming methods, the introduction of foreign plant species to the environment and drought all play a significant role in the degradation of the natural habitat. Educating local farmers and communities can empower them and help them to restore their culture, to grow successful crops, or graze their animals without causing devastating damage to the habitat.
The wonder of the Oasis De Sud Marocain Biosphere Reserve does not end with breathtaking landscapes and unique habitats; it is also home to a World Heritage Site. The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is located within the reserve and is of great historical importance and an architectural wonder. Biosphere reserves protect ancient habitats and promote their future survival.