On the long trail (Morocco): Biocultural bonds

On the long trail (Morocco): Biocultural bonds
2019. Biocultural bonds, Saghrou (Morocco). Photo: Eda Elif Tibet © Eda Elif Tibet.

On the long trail (Morocco): Biocultural bonds

Your home: «Your home is not yours, it belongs to the earth.»

In the agdal, the Earth seems to be held as precious as it always was.

Agdal is a form of diffused craftsmanship, whose name reveals its secret: Agdal is a term derived from the Berber root «GDL» spread out through all of north-west Africa, which can refer to various meanings as «protection», «prohibition», a «territory» in itself or even «to pasture». In the High Atlas, it refers to the ancient system of community resource governance, as mentioned earlier, but also to the protected territory itself: what a revealing homonym!

Igourdane is one of these extensive highland pastoral agdals, of over 4,000 hectares (40 km2), and is collectively governed by three tribes. Every year these tribes decide to close the agdal to pasture in the month of April and not open it until early June, allowing the vegetation to regenerate. What respect must imply that all of them come together and take collective decisions for the common good of the whole tribe, while in highly consumerist societies we may not be able to even agree between neighbours of one same alley! On an average, 250 families belonging to three tribes and 80,000 livestock inhabit the agdal during the summers, benefiting from the patience and restraint they show in spring, when they are barred from entering the green flourishing pastures in order to let them grow well for the benefit of all.