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a sustainable future

Plant of the Month

This series has been developed through the Green Urban Planning and Ecology interest group of Qatar Green Building Council.  Each month we will showcase one native or naturalised plant species that is currently being used by practicing landscape architects in Qatar.  The purpose of the series is to highlight the possibilities for designing landscapes using native and naturalised species in arid regions.  

Since 2014, QGBC has found increasing interest among landscape architects, landscape nurseries, ecologists, researchers, and sustainability professionals in the use of native or naturalised species for landscaping purposes.  Numerous meetings, conferences (both Qatar Green Building Conference and Future Landscapes) and workshops have been held with a wide range of experts to develop a greater understanding of the current use and potential future use of such species for landscaping in Qatar. One might expect that all native or naturalised species are viable for landscape purposes.   However, recent research on this subject was developed through a group of connected businesses and organizations - including Russell Associates Design, GORD, Nakheel, and Dr. Ali Al Keblawi of Sharjah University - who could see the potential for use of native species but realised that not all are suitable for the commerical needs of landscaping.  Differences in germination times, propagation methods, water needs, soil sensitivity, and salt tolerance all play a part in whether or not a species is suitable for commercialization.  The research investigated 50 native plant species and then developed a category and indicator (C&I) approach to determine a ranking (high, medium, low) of suitability for landscaping purposes.  The parameters used to classify and rank the species included: range of suitable weather conditions (temperature, humidity, and rainfall); the multiple use value (ecological, medicinal/economical, salinity tolerance and nitrogen fixation); and size/water requirement combinations - standard crown size (≤50 cm and ≥50 cm) and water requirement (moist, moderate, and dry).

While the current current landscape practices in Qatar largely rely on non-native species due to their vibrant colour, variety, size and other aesthetic qualities that are considered to be appealing in landscape design, many landscape architects would argue that the future of landscape in Qatar can be transformed to include a greater proportion of native and naturalised species.  Additionally, a focus on the development of linear parks and greater connections between both natural and landscaped areas would contribute to development of green corridors that permeate the frequently dense urban areas of Doha and other cities in Qatar.  Such practices would contribute to sustainability in the built environment through reduced landscape watering requirements, improving the microclimate and preserving the ecology of the country. To this end, this series hopes to provide a platform for this future vision and inspire the current and future landscape practices in Qatar.  

The Qur'anic Botanic Garden (QBG) launched its 2018 "Ghars" tree planting campaign on Qatar Environment Day (February 26 2018) with a planting of 35 Acacia tortilis trees in Qatar Foundation. Their campaign aims to plant 2022 trees in Qatar by 2022.  In support of this fantastic initiative, we have selected the Acacia tortilis as our first Plant of the Month.  

March 2018 - Acacia tortilis