Towards a new model of inclusive environmental governance in the Arganareda Biosphere Reserve

27 December 2021

The Journal of protected mountain areas research and management publishes an article on governance processes in the Arganareda Biosphere Reserve in Morocco.


The results of the research point to a complex network of actors in the Reserve and the importance of informal collaboration networks in the development of action plans.


The Arganareda Biosphere Reserve is the first reserve established in Morocco (1998), with a current extension of 2.5 million hectares and a population of more than 3 million people. The third largest city in the country, Agadir, is located within its limits. The Reserve is officially managed by the Moroccan forest administration and does not have exclusively assigned personnel. On the other hand, in the day-to-day running of the Reserve, the forest administration has the support of researchers, development agencies, cooperation agencies and other social agents that intervene in decision-making processes.

The article is led by Mari-Carmen Romera, a doctoral researcher at the ICTA-UAB, and is part of her doctoral thesis, co-supervised by Dr. Roser Maneja, in which she studies governance in Maghreb Biosphere Reserves, local communities and agdales (ancestral systems of natural resource management and local governance in Morocco). The main objective, says Romera, is “to identify and improve synergies that allow a shared vision of the territory, addressing two main weaknesses of the Biosphere Reserves around the world: the lack of effective governance and the deficiencies in their implementation”.

The article points out that establishing and maintaining inclusive environmental governance through the diversity of actors, relationships, territorial dynamics, and responsibility agreements is fundamental for the effectiveness of the Reserve’s implementation, and for stakeholders and communities to feel this protected figure belongs also to them.

The reserve is perceived as a great opportunity for most of the interviewed actors. However, political will and strong leadership are necessary for its development. The role and scope of informal dynamics and the interrelationships between actors are essential in the Arganareda Biosphere Reserve, and their contribution is vital to its resilience.

More information:

Mari-Carmen Romera, Feliu López-i-Gelats, Pablo Dominguez, Said Boujrouf, Roser Maneja. Towards inclusive environmental governance in the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve, Morocco. doi: 10.1553/eco.mont-13-sis38

Last modified: 27 December 2021