The first phase of the project ‘The socio-ecological system of the Moroccan South Oasis Biosphere Reserve: Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change’ funded under the Africa Climate Leadership Program (AfriCLP) was:
Dissemination of result and information: Particapation to the 5th Climate Change International Conference -Cape Towne, 18th-21th June, 2018
Mapping ecosystem services (ES) has become an important tool to study nature’s contributions to people (NCP) spatially and to manage ecosystems sustainably. However, few of these studies have been carried out in Africa and even fewer in drylands. This is not surprising, as drylands in general have not received much attention in the field of ecosystem services due to the perception that they do not provide much due to their low levels of productivity. In addition, not much data is available to map ecosystem services in Africa. In this study, we map regulating services of the Marrakesh Safi region in Morocco. First, a land cover map was developed based on existing information. This land cover map was thereafter used to map and model three regulating service categories in the region namely, carbon sequestration, microclimate regulation, and hydrological services (water regulation and water quantity) using six indicators. Our results show that agricultural land, which occupies the largest percentage area, also sequestered the most carbon in the study area. Forests sequestered about 16% carbon despite occurring in only 14% of the area and are the most efficient in sequestering carbon when considering carbon sequestered per hectare per year. The ecosystem type with the highest potential to supply water regulation services was Quercus ilex with about 200 m3/ha. The study shows that the hotspots areas are located in the southeast parts of the study area where the Quercus ilex is mostly found. Contrary to the belief that most arid systems are not productive and therefore do not provide many ecosystem services, our spatial outputs showed that the area around Marrakesh in Morocco, despite being arid provides many regulating services including water and microclimate regulation.