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Abu Dhabi spells out tolerance with Ghaf trees

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
Filed on November 13, 2019 | Last updated on November 13, 2019 at 07.29 pm
Abu Dhabi, spells out, tolerance, Ghaf trees, Year of Tolerance, Abu Dhabi desert, Al Faya area,
The trees will also serve as a natural windbreaker from winds in the area.- Supplied photo

The trees that were planted by a number of officials from diplomatic missions and government departments.

An 'Oasis of Tolerance' made up essentially of hundreds of Ghaf trees has been created in an Abu Dhabi desert to mark the Year of Tolerance.

The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) on Wednesday morning planted 600 Ghaf trees (Prosopis cineraria) - a symbol of the Year of Tolerance and 1,000 Markh trees (Leptadenia pyrotechnica), in Al Faya area - 45 minutes away from Abu Dhabi city. The trees spelt out the word 'Tolerance' in Arabic and English and were brought over from EAD's native plant nursery in Baynounah, Al Dhafrah.

The trees that were planted by a number of officials from diplomatic missions and government departments will provide shelter and habitat to several native and non-native species, some of which are considered endangered globally.

The trees will also serve as a natural windbreaker from winds in the area, which suffers from a continuous accumulation of dust. In addition, they will act as a field of mother trees for EAD to regularly collect seeds to propagate.

"The 'Oasis of Tolerance' honours the values of coexistence, harmony and tolerance and celebrates our diverse society that embraces more than 200 nationalities from a wide spectrum of cultures and religions living peacefully in the UAE," said Dr Sheikha Salim Al Dhaheri, secretary-general of EAD.

"The Ghaf tree was especially chosen because of its ability to survive our country's dry desert environment. It also represents a great cultural value in the UAE and is associated with our identity and heritage."

According to Al Dhaheri, one of the key ways EAD is helping to protect the Ghaf is by understanding more about the species in order to protect it.

"This year, we carried out a census and numbered more than 54,000 Ghaf trees across Abu Dhabi emirate," she pointed out, adding that this helped them identity their location and distribution and list them on a first-of-its kind map, which will help conserve the species and help to plan future projects.

"The distribution of the Ghaf has been linked with rainfall rates, soil and groundwater salinity and the prevalence of sand dunes," said Ahmed Al Hashim, acting executive director, terrestrial and marine diversity at EAD, during the planting of the trees.

"We are keen on protecting the Ghaf and planting more trees."

The Ghaf has for long been protected. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE's founding father, prohibited the cutting of this tree by law and encouraged its cultivation throughout the country. In line with his directives at the time, about six million Ghaf trees were planted in forests across the emirate.

Today, the total number of Ghaf trees in the emirate of Abu Dhabi exceeds 10 million and they are protected by the Federal Law No.24 of 1999. These include natural and planted trees in forests, farms and around residential areas.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

Ismail Sebugwaawo


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