Our selection criteria, that is, what we mean by Oases: they consist of traditional Oases, ecosystems developed by mankind in an arid environment as early as 3,000 BC. Sites where ingenious water-capture systems made it possible to cultivate date palm trees. Oases whose original architectural heritage – today severely endangered and close to disappearing – consists of buildings made either of raw earth or stone.
Thousand-year, or hundred-year old Oases, of varying size, founded at the latest at the beginning of the XX Century, where indigenous knowledge and practices are handed down from generation to generation. In some instances we find vast areas with thousands of inhabitants scattered over various villages, in others the population is limited to 30 people, the minimum number adopted by LabOasis Foundation as its survey criteria.
The production cycle includes agriculture and pastoralism, the underlying activities for the integrated economy which is typical of the Oasis, where, in any event, date palm tree cultivation is the mainstay.
Anthropic ecosystem found in a desert or semi-desert environment, that present similar structural features throughout the geographical area which includes the Saharan and Arabian deserts, such as:
- Presence of a human settlement and a date palm grove
- Economic and cultural key role of the date palm tree
- Climatic conditions allowing for the agriculture on three levels, typical of the Oases
- Cultivation practices which include – at least partially – traditional irrigation systems
- Presence of a traditional village or at least its vestiges, with buildings in raw earth or stone
- Stable population consisting of at least 30 inhabitants
- Settlements dating back 100 years or more