Why is it so important to protect the Argan forest?

Income and living conditions, especially for women:. Millions of people living in the argan forest and depending on it for their livelihoods. Argan oil production is mainly done by women. Employment at argan oil cooperatives give women living in rural areas in Morocco access to paid work, which most of them have not had access to before. The income the women bring home is a vital contribution to the household economy. However, one could argue that the income itself is just as important as the self-esteem and confidence these women get from working and contributing to the household and society. Women in the area have previously not participated in the workforce and spent much of their time in and around the home. Women now have the opportunity to share their thoughts, problems and joys with each other during their time at work. They can help each other with everyday problems and support each other in tough times more than they have ever had the chance to before.

A healthy argan forest with proper access to argan nuts that can produce argan oil is absolutely essential. These women will have an opportunity to work themselves out of extreme povert if the argan forest is sustainable and not overused. A sustainable forest is vital in order for the people to live good lives and be able to continue to live in the area they have lived in for centuries.

Soil erosion and desertification:. The Argan forest of Morocco is threatened by overuse and deforestation. The forest is essential to the natural habitat of Morocco. It helps to protect water resources and prevent soil erosion and desertification. UNESCO declared it a Biosphere Reserve in 1998 proving the importance of the forest to but in ecological and socio-economic terms.

Biodiversity:. The Argan forest is home to several animal and plant species. Rapid forest diminishing has major consequences for many species who will go extinct if the forest disappears.

Food and medicine:. Oil from the fruits of the argan trees can be used in two ways: for cooking and a for cosmetic purposes. In recent years, argan oil has exploded in popularity globally after it was scientifically proven to have extreme anti-aging effects. The oil is also used to heal wounds and rashes. Research also shows that argan oil is very good for the heart because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.