This study analyzes the social dynamics associated with resource management practices, the forms of competitiveness as well as the different patterns of legitimacy associated with access to resources. It also examines the social phenomena that accompanied the shift from common to private ownership in the context of the growing dominance of the modern market in the Tafilalt area of south-eastern Morocco. The study tracks the shifts in access to resources and households’ livelihood strategies, from a cultural ecology perspective. This studies the interactions of nature with communities through local culture and knowledge, and their history of utilizing resources (land, water). This study contends that inequality in the distribution of environmental resources is a reflection of patterns of access to resources, which in turn are linked to a social system that is seemingly caught between the contradictions of local and modern systems.