Yemen, rich in biodiversity [Archives:2004/763/Last Page]

August 12 2004
Photo from archived article: photos/763/lastpage1_1
Photo from archived article: photos/763/lastpage1_1
Ismail Al-Ghabiri
According to an initial survey, it contains more than 2810 plant species, which belong to 1006 genera and 173 families. Out of these plant species, 415 are endemic and do not occur elsewhere. Yemen's rich biodiversity may be attributed to the following reasons:
Yemen has a unique position in the Arabian peninsula where a mixture of tropical African flora and plants from the Sardinian geographical region can be found.
The large diversity of species is the result of the considerable climactic changes, which have taken place over time. This has enabled different species to survive in the large variety of habitats offered by Yemen. Yemen is also characterized by steep mountains dissected by narrow wadis, this has created many highly isolated habitats, that favor the formation of endemic species.
The large diversity is also the result of the large climactic variation found within Yemen, varying from desert conditions to sub-humid tropical conditions.

A. Jabal Bura'a
Jabal Bura'a woodland, covering approximately 4,100 ha, is located in a mountainous valley near the Tihama plains, along the west coast of the Red Sea near Hodeidah. It is a natural reserve, rich with plant species, housing more than 22 vegetation types, representing 58 families and 124 species, some of which are endemic.
The Jabal Bura'a pilot area represents a unique combination of ecological conditions favoring a rich ecosystem with great biodiversity (due to its height precipitation) and human management factors that have so far avoided massive destruction as characteristic for the region (the religious property land ownership of Wagf). Within the western part of Yemen it is probably the largest area with relatively dense vegetation. The plant and animal diversity has been studied and shows very high biodiversity, among which are a number of endemic and endangered species. The insects and bats of Jabal Bura'a have not yet been studied in detail. This area with high biodiversity plays a central role as a center of genetic diversity within the entire mountain zone of Yemen.
The Jabal Bura'a pilot area is surrounded by several villages, both of the lowland Tihama people (The Tihamis) and the highland mountain people (the highlanders), which makes its location precisely in the intermediate area between two different cultural zones. Both make use of the pilot area, but the Tihamis make most intensive use of the woody plant and grazing resources.