Municipality records 5,972 aged Ghaff trees in Dubai

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Municipality records 5,972 aged Ghaff trees in Dubai
Camel resting in the shade of a ghaff tree

Dubai - The Municipality began the project after receiving reports on cutting of Ghaff trees


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Sun 27 Nov 2016, 7:52 PM

Last updated: Sun 27 Nov 2016, 10:16 PM

Dubai Municipality has recorded 5,972 aged Ghaff trees within the urban areas of Dubai. As part of the Aged Trees Numbering Project, a total of 10,000 trees in the urban areas were monitored by the Municipality.
Eng. Mohamed Al Awadhi, Director of Public Parks and Horticulture Department of the Municipality, pointed out that the department will begin monitoring the Ghaff trees in the rural areas within the second phase of the project during the first quarter of 2017.
"Since 2014 the Municipality has been managing 5,972 Ghaff trees, located in the 11 urban districts of Dubai, which were among the 10,000 trees we had enumerated at the beginning of the project. We had spotted all the trees in the emirate, including affected by the transfer of positions to others sites outside the city because of infrastructure development," said Al Awadhi.
"The recording of all the trees is expected to be completed in the first phase, which includes the urban areas during the first quarter of next year. Then we will start monitoring the aged Ghaff trees in the rural area, which may need more time, considering the bigger number of trees and larger area than the urban region," he added.
Al Awadhi explained that the department recorded 3,200 trees in the Nad Al Sheba area, 1,331 in Zabeel, 626 in Satwa, 386 Al Quoz and Al Sufouh, 169 in Bu Qadra, 148 in Al Barsha, 57 in Al Kifaf, 45 in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim, in addition to 10 trees in Oud Metha.
According to Al Awadhi, the Municipality began the project after receiving a number of reports on cutting of Ghaff trees in several areas by the people to benefit from the timber, and the increased number of offenses recorded against the public by the Plantation Protection Inspectors.
Lack of awareness among people of the importance of Ghaff trees and about the actions taken against those who damage them also prompted the launch of the initiative.
He pointed out that the aim of numbering Ghaff trees is to create a database and document the information on them, both about the condition of the trees and coordinates of their location, and also to provide the real statistics about the number of aged trees, their age, length and diameter of the trunk and the types of the injuries suffered by them. Based on these information, which were recorded in a special system, the Plantation Protection Inspectors will check the trees and the differences that occurred since recording, in addition to raising awareness of the importance of maintaining the Ghaff trees.
Al Awadhi said the Ghaff trees, which have many benefits and uses, are characterized by their growth in different environments covering vast tracts of land in the country, including sand dunes and some of the land environments that are tend to salinity and on sedimentary plains with rough ground.
He said that the system allocates a special number to each Ghaff tree, depending on its location and condition, and print on a metal plate, "This tree is protected by law," which prevents damage, cut or transfer without permission from the Public Parks and Horticulture Department.
Al Awadhi added that Ghaff trees multiply rapidly, and it has several advantages in the fight against the dunes' move to other areas, in addition to being alive long periods of time. He added that the surveys were conducted using a special system linked to GIS in order to determine the locations on the map, and linking it to a website named New Places that gives the information on the locations of the trees.
Dubai Municipality launched the Aged Trees Numbering Project in 2014 to protect the local environment of aged trees from tampering by the public as it is protected by the law.
The project provides an e-database with statistics about the aged trees, which is easily updated periodically and linked with the Dubai Statistics Centre to have the statistics about the aged trees of local environment at the Centre's disposal. The Architectural Heritage Department also can take advantage of those statistics and information for the preservation of the heritage of the country.

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