Hawf to be announced a protectorate [Archives:2004/795/Culture]

December 2 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Yemen's Environment Protection Public Authority (EPPA) is preparing for the announcement of Hawf as a protectorate.
For more than two years, legislative and administrative preparations have been taking place to announce a 30,000-hectare sized protectorate in Hawf, Al-Mahrah.
Hawf is distinguished with a unique biodiversity, trees and rare animals. Its forest is considered of the greatest forests in the peninsula.
It is under the people's destruction of the surroundings of the inhabitation areas when cutting down the trees to be used as firewood or for cleaning the place while constructing new buildings. What contributes to this matter is that the consistent grazing of livestock that brings the biodiversity in the area of wildlife to loss.
According to the report of Land and Cost Protected Area Project (LCPAP) belonging to EPPA, distributed by Saba News Agency on Nov. 20, there are not carnivorous animals in the forest of Hawf. There are only some omnivorous animals that are threatened because of hunting them.
The report pointed out that the local community of Hawf found a special strategy for its own aiming at organizing the process of exploiting the resources of the area. People prevent firewood gathering, cutting trees, and grazing in some places and organizing that in other places. Not only that, even the government takes strict rules concerning the use of resources and locals' movements. All that, even the punishments included in those laws, doesn't stop the threat on the diversity of Hawf.
Hawf has been inhabited with tribes for many centuries. The majority of villages contain 3-7 cottages. Each one of them is dwelt by 2-5 families of relatives. In every settlement is of 10-12 persons with their livestock. Their lifestyle is similar to the nomad life that is dominated by the severe climate and the rich natural resources. They have no differences and they live on what they earn.
According to a study by LCPAP, Hawf, Gadheb, and Rahan are the only areas that have settlements made of modern houses. There are 27 small settlements that are descried of having rural features; they are among mountains and valleys. There are about 800 families inside the protectorate and it includes about 3200 persons.
Grazing and the seasonal movements of locals is the distinctive feature of people there. The people of a village build 2-3 cottages in different locations that are in proportion with their lifestyle. Those buildings are of the forest's leaves and their roofs are made of straw and plastic coverings. The climate, the availability of water, the natural fodders, and the life circle of harvests are basic reasons for the movements of those people.
The study shows that 6.31% of the population work in agriculture, 29% in fishing, 7.36% in grazing and the rest in other various activities. The woman is considered a vital economical element in the community of Hawf that parting is frequently applied. Concerning the biodiversity of Hawf, the study mentions that there was registrations for 220 kinds of plants are in 65 families 165 species of pteridophyta and close-grained plants. It also includes 45 kinds of trees, 49 of small ones, 88 types of perfumes' grasses, 12 of the crops. There are other nine marine kinds of plants will be registered including weeds which are found in marches.
The study says that 7% of Yemeni plants, nearly 3,000 kinds, are available in a limited area that is 90 square kilometers in size in Hawf.
Even though the biodiversity is deteriorated because of unjust hunting and destroying the settlements of animals, there are various studies that prove the availability of some kinds of mammals and a great number of rare birds. The study includes house rats, Arabian wolf, and red fox indicating their inhabitations. Some reptiles were registered too. Birds are a key element in the biodiversity of animals in Hawf and 65 kinds of them were registered, some of them are traveling yet some are from Dhafor, near to Hawf.
Surveys showed that a number of kinds are subjected to hunting in an organized way by the locals including, hyrax, some types of wolves and foxes, leopard and guzzles. They also pointed out that hyenas and jackals are of the active animals in that area.
Concerning birds, some locals say that some birds, like doves and partridges are targeted for food. There are two kinds of tortoises in the coastline of the protectorate; they are eaten by people so that they are threatened by extinct. These tortoises are at the top of the European list of nature's protection.
To sum up, announcing Hawf a protectorate is of great significance and it's clear that EPPA is doing the final touches of the announcement especially when it was able to make leaders from the local community to cooperate with it in managing the protectorate and makes it a success. That's in order to maintain the biodiversity of trees, birds and animals that reflect the providence's blessings and cheer the human soul up.