Rare perennial tree in Oman faces threat of extinction

MUSCAT: A unique and rare tree in the governorate of Oman is facing a looming threat of extinction.

Researcher in environmental sciences Muhammad Mubarak Akak said that the Sidr tree is a rare tree in the Arabian Peninsula. This one-of-a-kind tree can take up to 80 years to fully mature.

He added that some of the Side trees are as old as 400 years old. “We must preserve them, especially as they live in certain places and specific geographical locations,” the researcher said.

Certain malpractices, which include climbing and sitting on them, can affect the life of the tree. Many of the Sidr trees were also lost in Hurricane Mekunu, and the Environment Agency has initiated a planting campaign for this tree, but it needs many years to grow.

Environmental laws criminalise tampering and encroachment on wildlife, as stated in Article (33) of the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Law, with imprisonment for a period not exceeding one month and a fine of no less than OMR 10 and not more than OMR 500, or one of the two penalties, if trees are cut down.

The Law of Nature Reserves and Wildlife Conservation in Article (15) criminalises anyone who intentionally cuts or destroys any protected plant with a fine of up to OMR 500.

One of the beloved natural trees to the Sultanate, Sidr trees have played a significant role in Oman’s history for thousands of years. It has managed to survive the harsh weather conditions and other forces, such as urbanisation, to remain a part of Omani civilisation.

Omanis have long adored it for its practical uses in the home as well as for its luxuriant green hue.

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