On the long trail (Morocco): Collective knowledge

On the long trail (Morocco): Collective knowledge
2019. Collective knowledge, Dades (Morocco). Photo: Inanç Tekgüç © ‘Inanç Tekgüç

On the long trail (Morocco): Collective knowledge

But you cannot respond to those physical urges alone. Up there, it is liberating to go beyond the notions of individual identity, a value so sacred in the western, urbanized culture. But here pastoralists find joy in letting themselves go and be guided up to the pastures by others of their group.

Agdals, if adequately governed, are known to contribute highly to socio-ecological conservation for a number of reasons ~ for reducing grazing pressure, for facilitating the reproductive cycle of vegetation, for maintaining traditional animal breeds and a unique intangible culture, for enhancing the overall biodiversity and protection of other natural resources such as water and soils.

But they are in danger.

A range of difficulties, all linked to climate change, the maintenance of a mobile pastoralist lifestyle, harsh and highly variable environmental conditions, and socio-economical changing conditions with very little support from the State, are all leaving the agdal practice in a flux. These systems are  in decline,  with fewer and fewer numbers of families and livestock undertaking the transhumant journey to the pasturelands each year, and with new generations not willing to continue if the harshness prevails.

Here lies our responsibility. We also need to contribute to create conditions for these north African tribes to maintain Igourdane as the magnificent agdal that it is still today, with its unique natural and cultural values, as no life devoted to sustainability can be allowed to become unsustainable!


Acknowledgements. We would like to thank the Ben Youssef family members for sharing their journey and tradition with us and to KARMAMOTION for filming and co-producing this awe taking journey into a documentary film. We also acknowledge the contribution done by the local community of Ait M’hamed and its authorities, the Association for the Development of Saghro Nomads, the GDF-MBLA team as a whole, as well as the MAVA Foundation and the Darwin Initiative for their financial support throughout this journey.

Text and composition by Eda Elif Tibet, Pablo Domínguez, Pommelien Da Silva, Inanç Terkgüç, Soufiane M’sou, Ugo D’Ambrosio and Emily Caruso.