x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Project to save native plants to start soon

A seed bank project between UAEU and the municipalities of Abu Dhabi, the Western Region and Al Ain will help save native plants in Liwa.

Plants like the ghaf tree grow in flat sandy plains of the UAE deserts. A new study will focus on endangered indigenous plants.
Plants like the ghaf tree grow in flat sandy plains of the UAE deserts. A new study will focus on endangered indigenous plants.

ABU DHABI // A project to save native plants from extinction in Liwa should soon get under way in Abu Dhabi after a year's delay.

The research initiative announced last June between UAE University and the Western Region Municipality is to establish a "seed bank" and classify indigenous species and their medicinal properties.

It had been delayed after the chairman of the Department of Municipal Affairs, Majed al Mansouri, ordered it be extended to Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region.

"He believes the project is too important to restrict it to the Western Region municipality," said Abdullah Adel Shwaikh, the Western Region municipality's division manager. "There will be one memorandum of understanding between the municipalities and UAEU to be signed in the coming season, hopefully during the Liwa Date Festival."

The festival runs from July 16-25 and he said a draft should be finalised "very soon".

The aim is to restore desert plants endangered because of the region's limited rainfall. Some can be used for medicine or food.

cmalek@thenational.ae