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The ecological knowledge of two populations living in argan tree stands (Essaouira) Volume 23, issue 2, Avril-Mai-Juin 2012

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École nationale d’agriculture de Meknès km. 10, Route Haj Kaddour BP S/40 50000 Meknès Maroc, Cirad UMR AGAP F-34398 Montpellier France

For several years now, research centered on local knowledge has experienced a genuine boom. In fact, recognition of this knowledge is central to the current context, that of the paradigm of multi-level governance which stands for the co-management of natural resources. It is in this context that the present study, undertaken in the communities of Aguerd and Tidzi in the region of Essaouira, seeks to identify and analyze the ecological knowledge of two populations living in argan tree stands. Interviews conducted with local populations showed they had extensive knowledge relating to the functioning of the ecosystem: knowledge related to herds, to the management of crops under argan trees, to the argan tree itself and to the management of argan tree stands. This knowledge varies according to gender and is subject to rapid loss due to recent changes taking place in the studied zones. To mitigate the future development of such problems, diverse suggestions are presented.