Argan tree is endemic of Moroccan arid regions, providing socioeconomic and cultural benefits since ancient times. This study identifies the emerging threats for the argan forest, and the opportunities related to the innovative uses of argan products and byproducts. Argan forest is facing pressure from overgrazing, demand for argan oil and nuts, and land degradation, despite its recognition as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the inclusion in the FAO Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Programme. Innovative use and recycling of the waste deriving from argan nuts processing, offer promising opportunities to support a local bio-economy. Argan press cake can be used to integrate livestock feeding, to extract sudan dyes or to produce bioplastics. Argan nut shells can be used to produce environment-friendly and low-cost purifying materials and biochar, or as a source of bioenergy. Argan pulp can be used for bioethanol production or to obtain natural insect repellent. Despite these promising opportunities, the socio-economic impact of innovative uses is still limited. Local population is not sufficiently involved in management and development strategies. To support the sustainable development of local communities, it is necessary to promote a participative approach as well as training and product differentiation among argan women cooperatives.
- Agricultural heritage
- Argan forest
- Circular economy
- Sustainable development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation