The ghaf tree will be a part of a greenified landscape at the world fair
UAE's national tree to take pride of place at Expo 2020 Dubai
The UAE's national tree will be showcased when the country hosts the expo world fair for the very first time.
A lone ghaf tree, estimated to be more than 70 year old, is being protected as the sprawling site of Expo 2020 is built around it.
It has been retained on site since construction work got underway three years ago - and is a shining example of the green landscape of the eagerly-awaited event, which will run for six months from October 20, 2020.
Called the evergreen tree of the desert, sturdy ghaf trees survive harsh desert conditions.
On the expo Dubai South site, the raised sand densely packed around the tree shelters it from the hectic work and marks the original height of the surrounding landscape and the levelling work undertaken around it.
Green spaces will be a theme across the site in two years with a large park for children among the facilities planned.
Local plants including the date palm are already being tended to in an on-site nursery in which there are 13,000 mature trees and 300,000 shrubs.
“We have tried as much as possible to make our landscaping unique by using a lot of local plants,” said Ahmed Al Khatib, senior vice president of real estate and delivery at Expo2020 Dubai.
“We built our nursery on site to make sure the plants are mature and healthy by the time of the event. Having a nursery on site helps because the plants have already adapted to the area and have acclimatised.”
The team has promised some surprises in the water features still to be revealed later across a site that will be pedestrian-friendly and include cycle paths, buggies and people mover systems for those who chose not to walk.
“The masterplan was built around the visitor experience and comfort so the entire expo will be pedestrianised to ensure it will be easy and comfortable to walk around. It will also be compliant with the latest accessibility innovations for the people of determination, children and the elderly.
“It will be a place to which you will want to come back.”