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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sharjah- Al Qaram Trees and Al Hafiya Protected area on the Ramsar List

Her Excellency Hana Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority, announced today the registration of Al Qaram trees and Al Hafiya protected area in Ramsar, the international convention of wetlands.

The protected area’s expanse and age, compared to the rest of the forests on the eastern coast, played a major role in acquiring the Ramsar stature. A more important factor for the accreditation of the protected area by Ramsar is because it enjoys mineral-rich soil which creates an environment that allows for the reproduction of numerous plants, fish, birds and invertebrates.

The international Ramsar Convention aims to disseminate the methods of the wise utilization of wetlands, to serve the ultimate aim of achieving sustainable development all over the world.

Al Qaram Trees and Al Hafiya protected area, located in Sharjah’s Kalba’a city, is the only area in the UAE surrounded by forests of Al Qaram trees on the coast of Oman. Additionally, it was officially announced as a protected area in July, 2012 with the Amiri Decree No. 27, 2012.

HE Hana Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority, said: “This achievement in Al Qaram area was only possible with the ongoing patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his diligent support which strengthened our efforts and allowed us to protect the wildlife, preserve its biodiversity and ensure the existence of a natural balance.”

Al Suwaidi also stated that the Environment and Protected Areas Authority found impressive results through land surveys, confirming the return of biodiversity to the area. She also announced that the project will incorporate a learning centre that teaches about rare wild animals and a centre which showcases raptors.
Regarding the Ramsar accreditation, Al Suwaidi said: “The area enjoys a high biological value due to its status as a marine wetland with a sandy strip, mud and salt flats which freshwater pours into, which makes it rich with oxygen and nutrition, allowing for the creation of a fertile environment, teeming with marine life.”

Nessrine Alzahlawi, Deputy Advisor for Asia-Oceania, said: “The addition of Al Hafeya protected area and Khor Kalba on the Ramsar List is a clear indication of the commitment of the United Arab Emirates to the basic principles of the Convention as well as the care and attention of this nation to achieve the foundations of environmental sustainability and preservation of biodiversity. This is showcased by the efforts of the Ministry of Environment and Water as well as local bodies in their work to protect the environment and wildlife.”

The area of Al Qaram and Al Hafeya protected area is 1494 hectares, the highest point in it is 448 meters and the lowest point, two miles away from the sea, is 23 meters. Additionally, the temperatures of the protected area range from 27 to 31 Celsius degree, which are a few of the factors that allow the area to be in the first place in the country when it comes to biodiversity of wetlands.