Prosopis cineraria or the Ghaf tree
When Alexander Smith said “Trees are your best antique” he could not have described it better of how trees play a pivotal role in our environment and lives. Besides a trees practical use of absorbing carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen and combating soil erosion which are a necessity for our survival, the aesthetic contribution it makes to our environment is priceless. If it wasn’t for a tree some 350 years ago, Sir Isaac Newton would have never discovered the law of gravity while thinking of the forces of nature. Sources claim that the same specific tree is still growing at Woolsthorpe Manor today.
One such indigenous species of trees that is known as the native tree of UAE is prosopis cineraria, commonly known as the ghaf tree. It is very tolerant to the desert climate and can with stand intense winds of a desert storm. Besides its cultural and aesthetic significance here in the UAE, it provides friendly habitats for a wide variety of birds of this region.
The Prosopis cineraria spreads out its long flourishing branches providing a natural shades while acting as a versatile tree on parched lands that is measured as a elucidation to desertification. The ghaf tree stabilizes dunes while it improves the soil and is a self propagating tree with new lush branches shooting from parent root systems. Branded with Arab tradition, it is not surprising that the ghaf tree finds a place in folklore.
The ghaf tree is now planted in residential and commercial landscape projects. It is now making a comeback into the urbanisation of the UAE region. Since the ghaf trees are declining in the region it implies, a loss in cultural and biological heritage. Urban Exterior wants to preserve the ghaf trees cultural, aesthetical, and ecological importance and is leading its conservation to undertake a public attentiveness drive aimed at shielding the wild ghaf tree.