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Imegdal

The Rural Commune of Imegdal is located approximately 75km south of Marrakech in the Al Haouz Province (Marrakesh-Safi region). With altitudes ranging from 900 to 2500m, the commune has an area of approximately 278 km² with a population of 5537 people (1156 households) dispersed across 28 small villages (Moroccan 2014 census).

The climate is arid Mediterranean with hot dry summers (maximum 42°C) and cold and wet winters when temperatures can drop to -2°C. Imegdal has a high density and diversity of vegetation. however, natural landscapes are highly degraded in various locations with large areas fully or semi-deforested. Most of Imegdal’s inhabitants self-identify as Ishelhin and speak Tashelhit, one of the Amazigh languages. Much like other rural communities in the High Atlas, livelihoods are dependent primarily on subsistence farming, grazing and collection of non-timber forest products.

In 2014, MBLA created a community plant nursery in Imegdal, in collaboration with the local cooperative Imdoukal Znaga, of which its members are mostly local small holders.The plants grown in the nursery have all been selected in collaboration with local community members.

Each year, between 45,000 and 50,000 plants of 35 species are produced at the community nursery in Imegdal. Through annual plant distributions, the community nursery projects enhances rural incomes and decreases harvesting pressure on wild populations, which the community often heavily depend on for their livelihoods. A part of the cultivated species is planted in designated areas to reintroduce them back to the wild

Aït M’hamed

The Rural Commune of Aït M’hamed lies approximately 180 km east of Marrakech in the Azilal province (Béni Mellal-Khénifra region), covers an approximate area of 560 km2 and has altitudes ranging from 950 to 2600m. According to the Moroccan 2014 census, Aït Mohamed  has a population of 23696 (3493 households) dispersed across 45 small villages (douars). Most of Aït M’hameds  inhabitants self-identify as Imazighen (sing. Amazigh) and speak Central High Atlas Tamazight, one of the Amazigh languages.

Most of Aït M’hamed’s population base their livelihoods in subsistence agriculture and farming, in combination with other economic activities that occur primarily around its administrative centre and Azilal, the province’s capital.

Currently, natural vegetation is highly degraded in various locations, with large areas fully or semi-deforested. The region has two Sites of Biological and Ecological Interest (SIBE): Aqqa Wabzaza (terrestrial; priority 1) and Oued Lakhdar (wetland; priority 2) (Fennane, 2004; Mhirit and Blérot 1999).

Over the past three years, MBLA has successfully created a community plant nursery, plant herbarium and local seed bank in the center of Aït M’hamed. The community nursery of Ait M’hamed was created in 2017 in collaboration with the local authorities, the commune and the Aska association of women.  30658 seedlings of 22 species were planted in the nursery. The plants grown in the nursery have all been selected in collaboration with local community members. The community seed bank was developed with local researchers and communities with 85 accessions, which allows the storage of local varieties and also serves as a place to share seed between farmers.

Oukaïmeden

The Rural Commune of Oukaïmeden, which rises to a maximum altitude of 2,650m, is located approximately 75 km south of Marrakech in the Al Haouz Province, Marrakesh-Safi Region. It has an area of approximately 51 km2 with a population of 4861 people (782 households) according to the 2014 Moroccan census.

It is classified as a cold winter variant of the semiarid Mediterranean bioclimate, with between 82 and 139 sub-zero days/year. Rainfall varies between 400 and 500 mm/year, with abundant snowfall between December and March. Its montane grasslands flora, with a total of 198 known species from 122 genera and 38 families, is rich in endemics and plants of alpine and boreal origin.

Oukaïmeden inhabitants self-identify as Ishelhin, and speak Tashelhit, one of the Amazigh languages. Local livelihoods are dependent primarily on subsistence agriculture and grazing, with important revenues from ecotourism linked to Oukaimeden’s fame as the highest winter sports resort in Africa and to its renowned prehistoric rock carvings. In addition, Oukaimeden has an extensive agdal, a highland area where traditional pasture management is practiced.

In 2019, MBLA constructed a community plant nursery in collaboration with the local Ait Lkak association. The agricultural terraces were divided into 24 plots, irrigated by the drip irrigation system to save water. Currently, we are cultivating 26 endemic, endangered and valuable plant species including Origanum majorana L. and Lavandula dentata L. The community seed bank was recently established. This allows the farmer to share seeds and local varieties