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Universite catholique de Louvain (2012)

Social and ecological change in the argan woodlands, Morocco

Le Polain de Waroux, Yann

Titre : Social and ecological change in the argan woodlands, Morocco

Auteur : Le Polain de Waroux, Yann

Université de soutenance : Universite catholique de Louvain

Grade : Doctorat en sciences (sciences géographiques) 2012

The argan (Argania spinosa) woodlands cover about 950,000 ha in South-West Morocco. Despite their social and ecological importance, they are said to have receded strongly during the last decades, among other things due to the expansion of irrigated crops, logging, and overgrazing. Empirical evidence and analyses of this decline, however, are still largely absent. This thesis contributes to the understanding of ecological and social change and their interrelations in dryland environments, with particular reference to the argan woodlands. By examining both social and ecological changes over the last half century, and linking these changes to dynamics at various scales, it tries to overcome disciplinary boundaries and build a comprehensive understanding of social and ecological change in the region, so as to inform policy and science. The thesis is organized in three parts. Part 1 focuses on the extent and proximate causes of the degradation of the argan woodlands, using remote sensing and field data. Part 2 looks at one aspect of globalization, the rise of niche products worldwide, including argan oil, and assesses its potential for poverty alleviation based on household interviews. Finally, part 3 examines the long-term development and conservation trends in the study area in a context of market integration. Beyond its regional implications, the case study thus provides important insights into three global processes : the degradation of dry woodlands ; the rise of niche commodities ; and livelihood transitions in ecologically marginal areas.

Mots clés : Deforestation, Development, Dry woodlands, Land use change, Market integration, Morocco, Niche products


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Page publiée le 1er juillet 2013, mise à jour le 8 janvier 2018