Al Jabal Al Akhdar Initiative 2004 - 2007: A post project analysis. Presented by Reginald Victor at the "Perth II: Global Change and the World's Mountains" conference in Perth, Scotland in September 2010.
Al Jabal Al Akhdar Initiative 2004 - 2007: A post project analysis [Reginald Victor]
Al Jabal Al Akhdar Initiative 2004 -2007 A post project analysis Reginald Victor Deanship of Research and Department of Biology, College of Science, P.O. Box 36, Sultan Qaboos University, PC123, Sultanate of Oman. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Significance of Al Jabal Al Akhdar• An important terrestrial ecoregion in the world• Unique in its geography, climate, geology, biodiversity, history, culture and aesthetic value• Fragile ecosystem; delicate interrelationships between the physical environment, the flora, fauna and most of all man
Jabal Akhdar - Past• Regulated wilderness with controlled and difficult access• Predominantly, isolated and insulated communities• Relatively small number of residents and transients• No serious threats to ecosystem and cultural integrity• Poor infrastructure and service facilities
Al Jabal Al Akhdar Initiative• A multidisciplinary case study research funded by HM’s Strategic Research Grant for the period 2004 – 2007• Objective is conservation and sustainable development using the integrated approach advocated by the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP)• Follow-up of a proposal made by Victor (2003) to study Al Jabal Al Akhdar in NBSAP framework
Research components• Climate – Atsu Dorvlo, David Ampretwam and Andy Kwarteng• Biodiversity inventory- Reginald Victor• Vegetation ecology- Annette Patzelt• Birds- Jens Eriksen• Water resources – Reginald Victor and Mushtaque Ahmed• Soil resources – Malik Al Wardi• Overgrazing and animal husbandry issues – Osman Maghoub and Michael Robinson• Optimization of ecotourism- Dipak Chadhuri and Ram Ramanathan• Socioeconomic impacts of tourism- Ram Ramanathan and Geetha Subramanian
What is the outcome?• The results produced a blue print for the conservation and sustainable development of the JA region.• Results were discussed in the International Mountain Conference, February 2008• Proceedings contain the extended abstracts of some results presented (Victor and Robinson, 2009)
This presentation• Here an overview of post project analysis is presented• Methodology: Modified Pressure-States- Response (PSR) approach• Pressures identified in 2004• States described at the end of 2007• Responses till now in 2010
Climate• Pressure – Part of the Global Climate Change• States: Significantly increasing trend in temperature; low rainfall; low vapour pressure; low humidity; inadequate precipitation• Problem: Data deficiency, only for < 20 years: met stations need to be upgraded• Response: Still awaited Daily average temperature 1987 to 2004 relative to 1987 average Average daily temperature for Saiq 1987-2003 4 23 Daily average temperature in celsius 3 22 2 21 1 20 0 19 -1 18 -2 17 -3 16 Total 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 Total 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 YEAR Year
Flora and Vegetation• Pressures: Urban development, changes in in agricultural practices and overgrazing• States: One fourth all Oman flora is still here. High species diversity and high endemism. Key biodiversity region.• Response despite recommendations: Expansion of intensive agriculture and developmental activities; destruction of woodlands and no protected areas.
Faunal biodiversity• Pressures: Same as flora; additional problem that many species will disappear even before discovery.• States: 437 species excluding birds; bird species increased from 68 – 77 (indicative of degradation of mountain habitats)• Response: Protected areas and taxonomic studies sorely needed
Water Resources• Pressures: Poor rainfall; eutrophication of surface waters; underutilization of reservoirs; increase in population and demand; overexploitation of groundwater• States: Groundwater extraction exceeds recharge potential of aquifers; water quality of all reservoirs unacceptable for consumption.• Response: Further increases in groundwater extraction due to increases in demand due to urban development. No attempts yet to improve the water use efficiency of reservoir waters
Soil Resources• Pressures: Developmental and agricultural activities• States: Erosion due to soil instability; topsoil removal; seed bank removal; increase in surface run off and nutrient removal• Response: Land use strategies awaited.
Goat Husbandry• Pressures: Animal numbers and overgrazing of the range; myth that range feeding goats taste better• States: Range did not provide sufficient nutrition; herding impacted due to loss of child labour; stall feeding preferred, but financial constraints restricts practice• Response: Pen feeding with nutrient supplement + short periods of grazing. Positive response from herders; good government support
Overgrazing• Pressures: Goats, Sheep and Feral donkeys• States: Grazing pressures on shared diet plants was great; feral donkeys may be reducing small stock productivity; grazing intensity beyond sustainable levels.• Response: Changes in range management policies awaited
Ecotourism Development• Pressures: Tourism initiatives• States: High priority area for tourism development; intense promotion of tourism; lack of understanding of ecotourism. Optimization of the benefits of ecotourism and guidelines• Response: Study because of its highly sophisticated modeling approach is misunderstood and is posing a threat from unchecked tourism activities
Socioeconomic Impact Assessment of Tourism Development• Pressures: Expected. Threat to environment, local tradition and culture; non-accrual of benefits to locals; pressure on existing infrastructure• States: No pressures on existing infra structure, which actually improved; increase in employment opportunity for locals; improvement in revenue generation.• Response: Socioeconomic Environment Management Plan proposed. Tourism development has intensified reversing the local perception of tourism being beneficial
Jabal Akhdar - Present• Open and easy access• Villages and communities well connected with roads• Increase in the number of residents and households; very high number of transients• Good infrastructure with improved service facilities• Very rapid development for maximizing tourism revenues
Conclusion• In 2008, a question, “Are we losing Al Jabal Akhdar?” was asked (Victor 2009) based on problems with scientific uncertainties, not addressed by the Initiative• This post project analysis, based on empirical data affirms that we are rapidly losing the ecosystem integrity of Al Jabal Akhdar.