By Pommelien da Silva Cosme, Global Diversity Foundation
As with most of our partners, COVID-19 deeply impacted our (field) work due to long-lasting lockdown restrictions. At the High Atlas pilot site, the Global Diversity Foundation tried to use this desk time wisely, and together with local partner Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association, launched a new resource: the High Atlas Biocultural Database. This database, the result of years of research carried out through the High Atlas Cultural Landscapes Programme, can be used to search for plants that grow and are being used in the Moroccan High Atlas. “This integrative and living biocultural database will be of great use for researchers as well as anyone else interested in learning about the rich biological and cultural diversity in the Moroccan High Atlas region. Seeing this multifaceted effort come to light to the public is a great pleasure and delight,” says Ugo D’Ambrosio, GDF Scientific and Technical Advisor.
In addition, we developed and distributed a colourful booklet that features local and useful plant products selected by local students in different regions in the High Atlas, including Imegdal, Aït M’hamed and Ourika. The “Amazigh Household Basket” booklet also features beautiful drawings produced by these students, including olive trees, corn, cherries, carrots and thyme and is available for download here.
Photo credit: A student in Dar Taliba Ourika shows her olive tree drawing in the Amazigh Household Basket booklet – by Pommelien da Silva Cosme, GDF
Despite COVID-19, local community researchers have continued to cultivate endemic, valuable and threatened plant species at community plant nurseries in Imegdal, Aït M’hamed and Oukaïmeden. Earlier this year, we distributed 24,900 medicinal and aromatic plants to 517 families in the High Atlas. These plant distributions help reintroduce selected species back to the wild, enhance rural incomes and decrease harvesting pressure on wild populations, which the community often heavily depend on for their livelihoods.
More recently, our team was finally able to return to the field and started carrying out research with local community members in Oukaïmeden on their traditional pastoral land management system, also known as agdals.
Photo credit: A local community member is interviewed on the agdal system in Oukaïmeden – by Youssef Rochdi
Mobile pastoralism is a major traditional cultural practice in the Mediterranean and a unique example of the constant interaction between humans and nature. Being entirely different in essence to intensive livestock production systems, this practice offers the most sustainable way to make the most of the Mediterranean’s rangelands.
The intangible heritage of our communities and societies contributes a great deal to our culture and identity. The melipasto or melichloro cheese has been an important element of the economy of the island, its gastronomic heritage and the cultural identity of the locals.
Sophia Sifaki from Greece is the winner of the first Mediterranean environmental-themed short story prize with her story The Treasure. Sifaki’s story The Treasure spins an enchanting conservation tale in which a young doctor arrives on the small Greek island of...
Find out who the 2019 Shortlisted Authors are of Rooted Everyday's Mediterranean Short Story Prize. The prize is the first environment-themed Mediterranean writing competition. Its aim is to celebrate and protect the rich culture and biodiversity found in Mediterranean eco-regions.
The story is a collection of fanciful impressions made on the mind of Eliza, the narrator, of
the rustic and simple way of living on the island of Lemnos.
The story begins with the birth of princess Hypsipile and the ancient Greek gods endowing her with grace and gifts of beauty. Aphrodite is the only goddess that shuns her and departs as Hypsipile grows up on the island of Lemnos...
“It was with great joy that I took up the role of the judge on the students’ writing competition. I was caught up in pleasant surprise when I received and read their works, only to discover their true writing potential! All of the young participants, and especially the ones who won, produced exceptional stories, with flowing language and full of imaginative ideas. I felt like I was instantly carried over to Lemnos island, looked upon its landscape, smelled its fragrance and saw its inhabitants."
The Missing Message is a story about a group of animal friends living in a beautiful forest. However, the forest trees are losing their green colour and the river that was once flowing through the forest has completely dried up. The animals are worried to die of thirst. One morning, they all gather to discuss how they are going to survive and if people will be able to help them...
The garbage monster tells the story of two young girls who time-travelled to the future and found planet Earth deserted and in a terrible state: a sea full of oil and garbage everywhere. While they look around at the state of the Earth they meet a monster who is made of all kinds of garbage. He is very angry with humans and the girls quickly learn why...
“It has been a great pleasure to be part of the competition and enjoy reading so many amazing
short stories from the participants. I have read all the stories more than three times each
and it has been difficult for me to choose the best one from each category because the
stories carried a similar amount of talent and skill."