x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dubai’s indigenous trees get GPS monitors

The public parks department will work hard to provide a code for each tree with an electronic card in which the entire history of the tree is incorporated.

DUBAI // The first phase of a project to digitally record the emirate’s indigenous trees has begun.

The move – part of this year’s 34th Plantation Week – is intended to preserve trees and is being carried out by the municipality’s horticulture department. The trees will be monitored via a GPS system. The project was launched on Sunday by Hussain Lootah, the director general of the civic body.

Mr Lootah attended the event at which the first few trees were numbered, in Zabeel 1. It was one of several Plantation Week activities, which included the opening of several school gardens.

“This year the civic body decided to start with a unique project, which is numbering all types of traditional trees including Ghaf, Qarad, Atal, Sidr, Samar, Lathb and Rolla, with the aim to collect all data about these trees and keep its complete record digitally,” Mr Lootah said.

“The public parks department will work hard to provide a code for each tree with an electronic card in which the entire history of the tree is incorporated.”

One of the aims of the project will be to place the spotlight on the cultural and historic roles of trees in the region.

“All these trees are very important due to their deep-rooted connection with the history and tradition of the country. They have played and have been playing inevitable roles in human life and conserving the environment. So, it is the responsibility of the civic body to protect them and create public awareness on their importance,” Mr Lootah said.

“In the first stage, 10,000 trees in different areas of the emirate of Dubai will be numbered using a GPS system and all trees will be given a number plate with a code for the future monitoring and follow-up through a digitalised system. All the works will be done in coordination with the GIS Department of Dubai Municipality,” said Taleb Julfar, director of the public parks and horticulture department.

Since 1993 the municipality has rescued and relocated 10,219 Ghaf trees that were threatened by the expansion and modernisation of the city. All the numbered trees are now under the protection of the civic body and will not be cut down to make way for construction projects.

Plantation Week activities will continue until Thursday in parks across Dubai. Trees will also be planted, with the first being placed in Holy Quran Park on Monday morning. Dr Rashid bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, will be among those present.

The event takes place annually, with events across the country. In the capital, Plantation Week will begin being celebrated on Monday at the Corniche’s Formal Park. Activities will include a Ghaf tree exhibit and gardening workshop.