The Arganiers and the ecosystem

In the eighties the Arganier was threatened by a constant and progressive deforestation and the harvest of its berries, from which the oil is drawn, nearly abandoned. The rest of the world would not have known almost anything of this tree if it had not been for the scientific researches of the Moroccan doctor ZOUBIDA CHARROUF, professor of chemical sciences at the university Mohammed V in Rabat, and first woman to found a female association to guard and to take care of the growth of this tree in Morocco. The exploitation of the Arganier has AN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ROLE not negligible for Morocco. Around two million and a half of Moroccans live by income derived by the Arganier, the first resource of a very poor territory contributing so to avoid the rural exodus.

The Arganier exists in Morocco from 80 million years and in the Tertiary one it covered vast surfaces of the Nordafrica. Despite the shortage of water in the subsoil, the Arganier is a longlife tree to be considered sacred, that can reach 150-200 years of age and it is an essential element to maintain intact the fragile ecosystem of this region at the edge of desert: its roots, that reach 30 meters deep, brake the erosion of the ground slowing desertification. The forests are protected from the program MAB of the Unesco and from a plan of reforestation that brings the first results. Also the Foundation Mohammed VI was born for the search and the safeguard of the Arganier. The unesco has lately recognized the Arganier as TREE OF LIFE. It occupies around 830.000 hectares of the Moroccan surface, declared in 1988 from the UNESCO, Reserve of the Biosphere.