Over 1m seeds of native wild plants to be scattered across Abu Dhabi
The seeds will be scattered in sites without vegetation.- Supplied photo
Abu Dhabi - The project is expected to boost Abu Dhabi's biodiversity by providing shelter and food to vertebrates.
More than one million seeds of native wild plant species are to be scattered across Abu Dhabi by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD). The seeds will be scattered in four different locations within the emirate, with the aim of supporting seed stock in different types of soils and enhancing plant cover of selected wild plant species in their natural habitat.
The project is expected to boost Abu Dhabi's biodiversity by providing shelter and food to vertebrates, birds, small mammals, reptiles and a number of other creatures.
The seeds will be scattered in 100 plots in Al Ghada Protected Area, Al Houbara Protected Area in Al Dhafra region and the Arabian Oryx Protected Area. They will be sprinkled along Wadi Turbat in the Jabal Hafit National Park in Al Ain. The plant species include Ghaf, Acacia (Samar), White Saxaul (Ghadha), Cornulaca (Al Hath) , Bristle Grass (Al Sabt) , Convolvulus ( Hab Al Risha) , Broom Bush (Al Markh), Wild Drumstick ( Shu'a) et al.
Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, EAD's Secretary General, said: "Abu Dhabi has 60 per cent of the UAE's total wild plant species and we are committed to protecting these plants in their natural habitats through the Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network."
"This network includes 13 terrestrial reserves, such as Jabal Hafit National Park and Houbara Protected Area, where many types of endangered plants can be found."
Al Dhaheri added: "Native plant species are acclimatised to the local environment and have a great impact on the environment of the regions where they are located. Apart from enriching the region's biological diversity, plants can be used for food, medical treatment, as well preventing sand encroachment and stabilising sand dunes.
"However, we continue to face challenges with a decrease in wild plants caused by the destruction of natural habitats due to urban development, overgrasing and other non-environmental friendly practices such as logging and the illegal trade in firewood."
Al Dhaheri urged local authorities and private companies, who are collecting seeds, to co-ordinate with the EAD as lack of co-ordination risks putting pressure on the targeted species, destroying the plants' habitat during collection operations and not leaving any stock which plants can use to perform the natural renewal process for themselves.
The seeds will be scattered in sites without vegetation, as well as in areas containing some plants to provide the right habitat that can protect plant species when they are germinating. The seeds will be placed in shallow trenches and careful evaluation of the area will be carried out before and after sowing to measure its impact and the increase in vegetation in the area.
The agency produces 300,000 shrubs a year at the Baynounah Nursery in Al Dhafra region, Al Dhaheri pointed out.