JB - Beyond being an emblematic ecosystem in North Africa, oases are important places for local rural communities. After visiting some of them and talking to locals, what is your conclusion on the importance of their conservation?

SK - Most oases in North Africa are historically places of settlement for nomadic and local communities. Nowadays, they are equivalent to villages or cities (depending on their size) with each oasis equipped with its school, shops, and sometimes administrations.

The development of the natural aspect of the oasis was made thanks to humans and their effort to manage resources, while understanding the arid environment of those territories. While we, humans, did not create oases, we have played a major role in the origin and development of these ecosystems in several ways. We have managed to maintain a delicate and fragile balance between water, flora, soil, and climate in this hostile environment that is the desert. Thus preserving for centuries a great testimony and a large part of the history of these territories.

On the other hand, for centuries, this hard work resulted in the oases being a safe and fertile space for huge communities to develop and thrive. As a result, in the same way they were developed, the sustainability of the oasis and its heritage is closely dependent on the continuous effort of humans and governments into protecting and understanding the new challenges and needs that are ahead of us.