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A B S T R A C T The oasis, this green and ecological entity of the desert, a promise of life and hope in a rather unfriendly environment, has been for a long time a beneficial basis for the ecosystem services provided to human beings, for its socio-economic and urban values, and also for its ecological value. Today many ideas and concepts are developed in the scientific literature to demonstrate the benefits derived from ecosystems, such as ecosystem services, multifunctionality, and ecosystem values. However, the analyses of multifunctionality or ecosystem services of the oasis lack from the scientific literature. This study uses a literature review and a prior assessment of the oasis ecosystem services in order to create a particular conceptual framework for the oasis in an attempt to create a toolbox of variables or indicators for the evaluation of ecosystem services in the particular case of a desert ecosystem, i.e., the oasis.
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Multifunctionality of the oasis ecosystem. Case study: Biskra Oasis, Algeria * Ph.D. Candidate FATMA ZOHRA HADAGHA1, Ph.D. Candidate BOURHANE EDDINE FARHI 2, Dr. ABDALLAH FARHI 3, Dr. ALEXANDRU-IONUT PETRISOR 4 1 Habitat and sustainable cities, Faculty of Architecture, University of Biskra, Algeria 2 Art of building and urban planning, University of Brussels, Belgium 3 Architecture and urban planning, University of Biskra, Algeria 4 Doctoral School of Urban Planning, “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bucharest, Romania E mail: email@example.com E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E mail: email@example.com E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org A B S T R A C T The oasis, this green and ecological entity of the desert, a promise of life and hope in a rather unfriendly environment, has been for a long time a beneficial basis for the ecosystem services provided to human beings, for its socio-economic and urban values, and also for its ecological value. Today many ideas and concepts are developed in the scientific literature to demonstrate the benefits derived from ecosystems, such as ecosystem services, multifunctionality, and ecosystem values. However, the analyses of multifunctionality or ecosystem services of the oasis lack from the scientific literature. This study uses a literature review and a prior assessment of the oasis ecosystem services in order to create a particular conceptual framework for the oasis in an attempt to create a toolbox of variables or indicators for the evaluation of ecosystem services in the particular case of a desert ecosystem, i.e., the oasis. CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2018), 2(3), 31-39. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.4716 www.ijcua.com Copyright © 2018 Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction The oasis is a small area in the desert where the presence of water allows for cultivation (Larousse, 1982). The oasis is an area of sedentary life, which associates the city [medina] or village [ksar] with its surrounding feeding source, the palm grove, within a relational and circulatory nomadic system (Kouzmine, 2007). The oasis is also a socio-spatial unit in the middle of the Saharan space, and also a distinctive mark of the cultural identity characteristic to a particular human settlement. It is important to clarify that the oasis is primarily a form of adaptation to the harsh physical conditions of arid environments. For centuries, the oasis has been able to overcome the major obstacles of the desert. The poor quality of the soil, the rise of salt, the problems of silting, the lack of access to water resources and the inclemency of climatic conditions have not stopped the process of creating islands of greenery in the middle of the desert (Kerroumi, 2011). According to Ramad (2002), in the encyclopedic dictionary of ecology and environmental sciences, the oasis is a biotope located in a desert zone around a water point or in depressions where groundwater are close to the surface. According to Bouzaher (2015), the oasis is an ecosystem, traditionally structured by three fundamental elements, water, palm and habitat. Oases have played and continue to play a major role in the organization of space, the maintenance of the population and the economic functioning. This importance comes from the plurality of functions that oases have constantly fulfilled throughout history. The different functions provide to the oases, despite their limited size, a primary role in the development of Saharan and pre-Saharan territories (Kassah, 2010). Despite the importance of this ecosystem and its multiple functions, the oasis today is in a state of degradation. For that, this work aims to provide an answer to the following research question: How could the multiple roles of the oasis be demonstrated in order to challenge the degradation of its ecosystem services? As the scientific literature lacks indicators of the ecosystem services of the oasis, we are interested in determining the major categories of benefits that the oasis society has derived from this ecosystem. Much of the research has recognized many benefits of the urban vegetation, and most oasis-related research recognizes the fact that this ecosystem provides many different social, cultural, ecological and economic benefits. The work of Selmi (2013), who explored the link between the two concepts, ecosystem services and multifunctionality, was used as a guiding frame for this article. In this context, our study is based on a review of the scientific literature aimed at exposing a state of the art on the concept of multifunctionality and its relationship with the ecosystem services in the particular case of an oasis. For this reason, we carried out a review of the scientific literature and an exploratory field survey aimed at accomplishing the following objectives: • Collecting useful and relevant data for understanding the concept of the multifunctionality of the oasis, and ecosystem services. • Acquire field observations and perform a qualitative assessment of the degradation of the oasis ecosystem. The first step was to develop a study based on a qualitative approach, consisting of a documentary research, followed by a selective research focused on the contents of relevant documents (Fig. 1). Fig. 1. Workflow of the review. It is worth remembering that the main objective of this work is to show the link between the multiple functions of the oasis ecosystem and ecosystem services, in order to design a matrix of indicators for their evaluation, which can prove the degradation of the oasis ecosystem by the degradation of its services. The study is not exhaustive, given the limits of research done on the topic of the oasis. This area is still under development and deserves to be developed. The objective of this work is to consider the different advantages of the oasis in several ways, as an attempt to enrich the theoretical and methodological contribution to this topic. 1.1. Conceptual frame It was very necessary to understand, explicitly, the meaning of the notion of ecosystem services and also of the oasis ecosystem, by looking at their definition. Next, we classify the ecosystem services into several categories, and identify the components of the oasis ecosystem. 2.1. Ecosystem services: exploration of the concept The notion of ecosystem services has become a topic of scientific debate in the international public spaces of biodiversity for some ten years now. Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans derive from the ecosystems. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment was launched by the United Nations in 2001 to provide policymakers scientific information on the links between ecosystem change and human well-being, in order to define the actions required to strengthen the conservation of ecosystems and their exploitation in a sustainable manner.
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This page is a summary of: Multifunctionality of the oasis ecosystem. Case study: Biskra Oasis, Algeria, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, November 2018, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs (JCUA), DOI: 10.25034/ijcua.2018.4716.
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