Give a Ghaf - Ghaf Tree Planting

Ghaf Tree Planting - Raising awareness of the local environment through planting the Ghaf and other indigenous trees

What is the Give a Ghaf tree planting program?

In the early 1970s, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, embarked on a program of “greening‟ the desert.

In 2010, Goumbook decided to follow the vision of the country’s Leadership and to raise awareness on the Living Desert and the multitude of species growing naturally in it such as the Ghaf tree, the UAE National Tree, also named the Union Tree by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Give a Ghaf tree planting program was officially launched in 2011 by Goumbook to raise public awareness about the Ghaf tree and its values, while encouraging people to plant indigenous trees and save water.

The Ghaf is a wild tree and every year we need to collect its seeds to be able to plant them and produce new, healthy seedlings. Once we plant the seeds and they germinate, we keep them in our nurseries until they reach 30-50 cm and are safe to be planted. The seedlings are given back to the local community to be planted in homes, farms, parks, schools or urban areas where natural shade and greenery are needed.

This initiative is carried out in collaboration with municipalities, local companies, landowners and passionate individuals who will help us find ‘forever homes’ to our little Ghaf seedlings.

Land Owners

Give A Ghaf - Meet the Ghaf Tree

An indigenous species, specifically of the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia, the Ghaf is a drought – tolerant, evergreen tree which is, possibly, the sturdiest plant of the harsh desert environment. In the UAE, it can be seen growing on low sand dunes, undulating sand sheets and along margins of gravel plains mostly in the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.

The presence of Ghaf in an area indicates that there is water underground. The tree taps water stored deep in the sand, its roots penetrating as deep as 30 meters to access it. Thus, Ghaf is able to withstand very low rainfall and still stay green. How long it can survive if groundwater itself gets exhausted, is yet to be determined.

Give A Ghaf - Beekeeping to enhance local biodiversity

The people of the UAE have always had a taste for honey. For as long as anyone could remember, the remote areas of the Arabian Peninsula had represented something of a natural apiary.

In Sheikh Zayed’s Al Ain — where he served as Ruler’s Representative from 1946 to 1966 — bees were understood to be important pollinators.

Across the territory that is today the UAE, gathering honey from bee colonies had traditionally been done by subduing the bees with smoke, and then harvesting the sweet substance with as little disturbance to the insects as possible. Particularly across mountainous enclaves, there were thousands of sidr and simr trees, and in the desert, an abundance wild ghaf trees, that bees would adopt as home.

Managed honeybees remain a critical resource for world agricultural and food security. If the quintessential ecological battle cry of the 70s was ‘Save The Whales’, today it is ‘Save The Bees’. People are finally waking up to the value of bees. 

For all these reasons Goumbook is committed to support local beekeeping by planting indigenous trees and engaging companies to adopt beehives and train their employees to learn the skills.

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