The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has launched a microsite titled ‘Gheras’ (Saplings) to enhance public awareness and understanding of local plants.
Accessible via the MOCCAE portal, the bilingual site aims to support the implementation of the Cabinet Resolution No. 18 of 2018 on local plant farming and nature conservation through offering ample information on the species listed in the resolution that have adapted to the UAE’s arid environment.
The list of plants that are indigenous to the country comprises 72 species, including ghaf, acacia, henna, sidr, desert thorn, and caprifig. The microsite features the plants’ pictures, common and scientific names, botanical descriptions, and growing seasons, in addition to the location and contact information of the 54 government and private nurseries across the UAE that supply their seeds and saplings.
His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “Through Gheras, the Ministry seeks to raise public awareness of local plant species and ways to care for them. We aspire to step up community participation in the government’s drive to preserve local biodiversity and to protect and restore the natural habitats of local plants.”
He noted that to achieve this priority, MOCCAE has assembled an interdepartmental team that coordinates with relevant local authorities to identify crops that can thrive in the UAE’s arid environment and allocate plots of land for the cultivation of local plants. Furthermore, it has appointed nursery partners to supply seeds and saplings along with guidelines on their cultivation.
The microsite allows members of the community to post pictures and videos to showcase their cultivation efforts online.
MOCCAE is currently developing a Gheras app that will include all the information displayed on the microsite.