(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Forty-four people were held for destroying indigenous trees, including the National Tree Ghaf, in the first eight months of the year in the emirate.
The department of public works has nabbed the culprits during its efforts to curb deforestation and illegal felling of local trees in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK).
The three types of local trees - Ghaf, Sidr and Samar - have been constantly uprooted over the last years in a way that may end in their extinction, an official at the RAK department of public works, said.
Al Hamamdi added: "This is a real threat to the local environment and migrating birds."
| Know the three trees |
Ghaff > Ghaf or the evergreen tree of the desert is the National Tree of the UAE. It is difficult to harvest Ghaf, as only one in 5,000 seeds take root. Sidr > Sidr tree has several medicinal properties and is popular in the region for ages. Women used to powder dry leaves of the tree and use it as shampoo during ancient times.
Samar > Samar is another drought tolerant tree, which grows in rocky mountain areas as well as in sand dunes. It is also called table tree.
These natural resources, though strictly protected by law, are going scarce, Eng. Hammadi said, adding that the department has intensified its raids across the emirate.
Ahmed Hamad Al Shehi, an adviser with the department for public works, said the Raqib patrols have nabbed nine people for felling the local trees in August this year. In July, the department officials nabbed three people while May, April, February and January saw five, 11, three and nine arrests.
He added that the violators detected were either wood traders, who cut these trees for commercial grounds, or residents who use wood for cooking traditional food indoors or outdoors while camping.
Some people were found using these trees in barbecue parties, he added. "Some others were storing them for desert camping and barbecue parties for the upcoming winter and spring."
Dr Saif Al Ghais, executive director of the environment protection and development authority in RAK, warned that such extensive felling poses a grave risk to the local trees and the environment as a whole.
"Official records show that up to 500 of these indigenous local trees, including Sidr, Samar, and Ghaf, were illegally felled in 2015," he said.
Ghaf is a major source of living for over 30 desert species and needs very little water, half litre a day in summer and all its parts could be used for different purposes. The endangered Ghaf Tree is seen as a regional symbol of wellbeing.
Ahmed Shaaban Originally from Egypt, I have been in Dubai since December 2005. Before coming here, I worked as an English language instructor, chief En/Ar translator, proofreader, reporter in Egypt and Qatar. I have also worked as a reporter, correspondent and simultaneous translator with two satellite channels in Dubai. I have a masters degree in media, Cairo University, 2014, a bachelor degree in English language and translation, Ain Shams University, Cairo, 1996, and three post-graduate diplomas in English language and Instruction. With over 19 years of experience in translation, interpretation, EFL instruction, and reporting. I am interested in technology, aviation, politics, as well as community, parliament and defence issues. I enjoy reading, writing, exercising, and surfing the web.