Traditional oases in Northern Africa as multifunctional agroforestry systems: a systematic literature review of the provided Ecosystem Services and of the main vulnerabilities
Traditional oases represent unique forms of adaptation to extreme environmental conditions, developed through the centuries by local farmers to support their livelihood, combining different crops (date palms, fruit trees, vegetables and fodder) with livestock breeding. Despite their social, economic and cultural importance, these agroforestry systems are currently facing multiple socio-environmental threats. The aim of the paper is to investigate the variety of Ecosystem Services (ES) and the main threats related to traditional oases in Northern Africa through a systematic literature review. The search returned 257 relevant papers published from 2005 to March 2022, mostly focusing on Tunisian oases (37%), followed by Algerian (23%), Moroccan (19%), Egyptian (17%), and Libyan (4%). Provisioning Services, in particular Genetic diversity, agrobiodiversity and biodiversity, are the most cited ES (36% of the papers) followed by Cultural Services, mainly represented by Traditional knowledge systems, cultural heritage and sense of place (17%), while Regulating Services are less considered. Results highlighted that water related issues (desertification, drought, salinization or overexploitation) represent the main threat, followed by decrease of agrobiodiversity, primarily due to the spread of monocultures of commercial date varieties, and by social transformations (depopulation, traditional knowledge and cultural heritage loss). The literature review proved that traditional oases are still crucial for the livelihood of local communities since they still provide many ES. Local experiences related to sustainable development and tourism, or innovative solutions to valorize local products and byproducts, could be important for replication in other traditional oases to contribute to the wellbeing of local communities and to the preservation of these agroecosystems.
© The Author(s) 2022. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ . The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agroforestry Systems, 2023, available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10457-022-00789-w . Keywords: oases, Northern Africa; agroforestry; ecosystem services; date palms; agricultural heritage.
Santoro, A. (2023). Traditional oases in Northern Africa as multifunctional agroforestry systems: a systematic literature review of the provided Ecosystem Services and of the main vulnerabilities. Agroforestry Systems, 97, 81–96. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-022-00789-w