Nuts and kernels of the Argan tree are collected in a basket at a women's cooperative where labour intensive argan oil is manufactured in Sidi Kaouki in the Essaouira province, on October 29, 2012. (AFP PHOTO /FADEL SENNA)
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So in an effort to protect the remaining forest, plant more trees and boost incomes, UNDP and community members are working to put in place a "payment for ecosystem services" scheme."If it weren't for the local population, the forest would be long gone," said Fatima Ait Moussa, president of the women's argan cooperative.Cash coming into the community from tourism payments would give added incentives to protect trees – and top up the relatively low prices women get for their oil, which sells locally for $25 a liter, compared to $200 a liter in Paris, Haddouch said.After successful volunteer cleanup days on the beach and in the neighboring scenic "Paradise Valley," 20 local tourism businesses last month donated cash to pay two full-time beach trash collectors and install waste bins.To help everyone understand the sometimes complex effort, UNDP has also taken locals, tourism leaders and government officials to Costa Rica to see working "payment for ecosystem services" programs there that tap tourist dollars for biodiversity protection and community support.
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