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Al Ain Municipality launches Ghaf pruning drive

posted on 16/01/2014: 3032 views



The public's help is being sought to prune the city's numerous Ghaf trees.

The tree, popularly known as the umbrella tree, is of central importance in desert eco-culture and is part of the UAE's cultural heritage.

The tree is indigenous to the UAE and was a source of food for domestic animals and wildlife and also supported the Bedouin lifestyle.

The municipality is running the seasonal pruning campaign to boost the tree's natural growth and the city's image.

The campaign needs the public's help as the trees are scattered throughout the city, said Mohammad Saeed Al Shamsi, head of the Parks and Gardens Section of Al Ain Municipality.

Public participation, he said, will also improve environmental awareness.

He said Emiratis had inherited Ghaf pruning skills from their forefathers, who used to trim the trees in winter using traditional tools and methods. Following in their footsteps, said Al Shamsi, the municipality has been organising annual campaigns with the support of various organisations such as the Centre of Waste Management-Abu Dhabi, agriculture establishments, farmers and the public.

The drive, he said, is being run using municipality-approved methods to remove twigs, buds, roots and other parts of the tree.

He said the municipality is eager to complete the process to avoid spoiling the city's appearance.

"The municipality will take appropriate action in the event of any breaches of the rules and regulations of pruning,” he added.

The campaign, he said, also highlights the cultural and environmental importance of the Ghaf tree and prevents them being cut down unnecessarily — as this could pose a threat to their survival.

Experts said the tree is perfectly adapted to the arid desert environment with remarkably extensive roots that reach as deep as 30 metres to absorb groundwater. It also helps fertilise soil for agriculture by releasing nitrogen when it dies. The tree, which withstands prolonged drought and high salinity, remains green the year round.

Camel camps were always located in Ghaf groves, which also serve as shelters for people in the summer months. The tree also has numerous medicinal benefits. – Gulf News – Read more: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/al-ain-municipality-launches-ghaf-pruning-drive-1.1277877

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