THE ARGAN GROVES
The Argan tree grows only in a limited, well-defined area which is found in the High Atlas mountains along the Atlantic coast in Southern Morocco.
The “Arganeraie” (argan tree forest) contains approximately 20 million trees, and covers nearly 800,000 hectares. It is the only argan forest in the world.
The argan tree plays an essential role in a difficult socioeconomic context by sustaining rural populations who live in an extremely arid region.
It also plays a major ecological role in countering desert progression by maintaining the humidity and soil fertility conditions that are conducive for the agriculture of local populations. Furthermore, harvesting of Argan nuts has become the only source of income for women.
Protection of the “Arganeraie” is therefore essential in more than one respect. In 1999, UNESCO added the “Arganeraie” to the World Heritage List, classifying it as a Biosphere Reserve, and thus began the movement for the preservation and development of argan trees.