Environmental Hazards Assessment at Pre-Saharan Local Scale: Case Study From the Draa Valley, Morocco

Environmental Hazards Assessment at Pre-Saharan Local Scale: Case Study From the Draa Valley, Morocco

Ahmed Karmaoui (Association des Amis de l'Environnement, Morocco), Adil Moumane (Ibn Tofail University, Morocco) and Jamal Akchbab (Association des Amis de l'Environnement, Morocco)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9771-1.ch012
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Ecosystem management requires biophysical and socio-economic measurement. The intervention of the government and the local community in order to combat the degradation of ecosystems must take into account the effects of the environmental hazards. This can reinforce the inhabitants' ability to adapt at local level. The impact on ecosystem and resources are numerous and complex. Consequently, a multidisciplinary evaluation is needed. In this context, a new approach was proposed, called environmental hazards assessment at local scale. It was used to evaluate the risk of several oasis resources to multiple hazards in the Middle Draa Valley. The findings show that for all resources, desertification is the biggest challenge affecting this area followed by drought, sandstorms, and then floods. This risk assessment approach can provide guidance for future assessments.
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Today, climate change has become an internationally recognized reality. Climate change has affected several vital sectors, agriculture (Xie et al., 2018; Neset et al., 2018), health (Karmaoui, 2018), economy (Dogru et al., 2019; Zerouali et al., 2019), tourism (Rosselló-Nadal, 2014), and various ecosystems and the associated ecosystem services (Karmaoui et al., 2015a). The population response must focus on reducing the vulnerability of the socio-ecological system through adaptation to change. The arid environment is an example of the most vulnerable systems and supports a socially fragile population. Around the world, the oasis as a wetland in an arid environment that offers an interesting example of what adaptation could be. Indeed, the oasis produces ecosystem services to local populations. While they can reduce the vulnerability of populations to climate change, but unfortunately they are not taken into account in local adaptation projects.

The study area, the Middle Draa Valley (MDV) is among the most affected areas in the country by desertification (Karmaoui et al., 2014a; 2014b) and drought (Karmaoui et al., 2019; 2016a; 2015b), floods (Karmaoui et al., 2016b), and sandstorms. From here comes the idea to carry out an assessment of those environmental hazards on the ecosystem services of water and soil. The impact of these hazards is accelerated by human direct intervention such as overgrazing, urbanization, and overexploitation of resources. All of these factors contribute to the degradation of arid ecosystems and the disappearance of many villages.

An analysis of the impact of these environmental hazards on ecosystem resources and services is lacking. Such an evaluation must be undertaken. In this context, a multidisciplinary approach was proposed to evaluate the impact of the main environmental hazards and disasters on water and soil resources. This new method was developed using information collected from an expert workshop at local scale. It offers a logical process that helps to better understand the links between these hazards and the different types of resources (natural, physical, financial, human, and social). This tool aims to help planners and managers to put in place the most appropriate measures to adapt to climate change and the main environmental hazards at the local level.

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