The argan forest in southwest Morocco has long been valued by local populations and was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1998. Despite decades of discourse about the argan tree’s value for ecological conservation, the argan forest continues to recede. Economic and social benefits are not accruing to local communities and local wildcrafting relations are erased in transnational trade agreements. Or are they? What kinds of relations, knowledge, and communities might still be preserved in political and social arrangements addressing the Moroccan environment?
Becky Schulthies is an associate professor of Anthropology at BYU. She is a linguistic and cultural anthropologist specializing in North Africa and the Middle East. Her research focuses on Moroccan communication, Arab identity, media practices, and plant-human relationships.
Part of our fall 2023 lecture series, "Preserving and Transforming Culture."