Vulnerability of Oasis Agriculture to Climate Change in Morocco

Vulnerability of Oasis Agriculture to Climate Change in Morocco

Mohamed Ait-El-Mokhtar (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Abderrahim Boutasknit (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Raja Ben-Laouane (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Mohamed Anli (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Fatima El Amerany (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Salma Toubali (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Soufiane Lahbouki (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Said Wahbi (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco) and Abdelilah Meddich (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3343-7.ch004


Morocco is considered one of the most threatened countries by climate change. Over the last century, oases ecosystems in this country showed a high vulnerability to climate variation, which has led to water scarcity, an increase in land salinity, and therefore, a decrease in agricultural production. Conscious of these issues, several solutions are initiated by the government to cope with climate change adverse effects. Many programs of rehabilitation were launched, and advanced researches are in progress in order to use some biofertilizers to improve tolerance of oasis crops to drought and salinity toward sustainable agriculture. The aim of this chapter is to give an overview of the impacts of climate change on oasis agriculture in Morocco and to provide potentially effective strategies to promote oasis agriculture under climate change. As a conclusion, the authors found that the use of different biofertilizers could be a potential strategy to mitigate climate change effects on oasis agriculture in Morocco.
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Arid and semi-arid Mediterranean regions, including Morocco, are among the most affected area by climate change's deleterious effects (Rochdane et al., 2014). It is expected that rainfall will decrease and temperature will increase in the entire Mediterranean region; in particular, in Morocco, which is considered as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change (Simonneaux et al., 2015). In fact, in recent decades Morocco has experienced precipitation deficits, significant increase in temperatures and devastating flood especially in the south of the country (Driouech, 2010; Ait El Mokhtar et al., 2019b). The oasis is a specific ecological landscape that characterizes the south of Morocco. It is a complex and fragile agro-ecosystem which sustains agriculture under drastic climatic conditions (El Khoumsi et al., 2014). This traditional system proved to be sustainable and productive for centuries as a result of effective management for plants, soil and water (Pegna et al., 2017). Many components of oasis ecosystems are affected by climate change especially water availability and soil quality (Karmaoui et al., 2014; Ait Houssa et al., 2017) which hamper oasian agriculture production. The main factors related to climate variation and affecting agriculture are water scarcity and soil salinization. Furthermore, traditional oasis agriculture is in critical situation because of migration, socio-economic and political mutations leading to entirely abandoned fields and the collapsing of the agricultural infrastructure (De Haas, 2001; Pegna et al., 2017).

To cope with adverse effects of climate change on oasian agriculture, Morocco has initiated several strategies, such as the Green Moroccan Plan and other programs with international organizations to improve the agricultural production under changing climate (Akesbi, 2012, Pegna et al., 2017). Otherwise, Morocco supported a lot of initiatives dealing with climate change at the 22nd COP United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) organized in Marrakech in November 2016. One of the main initiatives being communicated by Morocco for the COP22 is Sustainable Oasis program designed to hinder oasis abandon and degradation, to promote adaptation to the climate change by reducing the vulnerability of natural and human oasis systems and provide support by helping this fragile ecosystem to implement resilient practices climate change mitigation. In addition, the use of agriculture biotechnology such as symbiotic microorganisms, organic amendments and plant tolerant varieties could be a promising way for mitigating the negative impacts of water and salt stress, induced partially by climate change, on agriculture in oasis area.

In this chapter, the authors will give an overview of climate trends in Morocco especially in oasis area and will assess the different adverse effects of climate change on oasian agriculture and related component. Given the importance of adaptation strategies to changing climate, the chapter also presents promising solutions to cope with the negative impacts of climate change on agriculture in oasis ecosystem.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainability: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level over a period of time.

Compost: Refers to an organic matter that has been decomposed in a process called composting.

Vulnerability: Refers to the inability to resist the effects of a hostile environment.

Agriculture: Is the process of producing food, forage, fiber, and various other products by the cultivation the soil and the rearing of domesticated animals.

Climate Change: Refers to all variations in climatic parameters of the global climate of the Earth or its various regional climates over time.

Remote Sensing: Is the technology of obtaining information about objects or phenomenon from a distance.

Geographic Information Systems: Is a technology designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data.

AMF: Type of fungi which form symbiosis with roots of vascular plants.

PGPR: Are symbiotic bacteria that form symbiosis with plant and have a positive influence on its growth and development.

Oases: An ecosystem consisting of a spot of isolated vegetation in a desert found near a water source.

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