It’s a very rural scene tucked away on the outskirts of Manama, a remnant of the past which, were it historical buildings or an archeological site, its future would most probably be assured. However it is neither so it has been left to the purveyors of coloured pencils, the physical planners to decide it’s future, their answer total obliteration. I am talking about the Manama Greenbelt around Adhari Park.
This is not just any old piece of the greenbelt but the home of the once mighty Adhari pool, once part of the green oasis that gave Bahrain its name. It still survives, still has that fundamental essence that makes it core to the nations identity and is partially responsible for the story behind the name Bahrain “The land of Two Seas”. It is as much part of the history of Ancient Dilmun and of Awal as any line of preserved archaic stones in the dirt.
The area in question is an historic area of old, very old farmland and date plantations some pockets still intensively farmed but largely the area is a shadow of that former natural glory. It was an area that was once all fertile gardens with open free flowing sweet water springs (one of the historic seas) that fed huge irrigation ditches many of which still exist but sadly, now these ditches and the fertile land they nourished, are largely ignored, left to slowly decay through a policy of purposeful abandonment. It is now an area unwanted it seems by many owners and the state alike in its present form. For the planners the area appears to be an aberration, caught in a time warp? However I ask can they justify a scenario where there is no longer a need for rural spaces in urban areas, especially one designated years ago before Sustainable Development became fashionable buzzwords. Where has the vision of 2030 gone? I find it hard to believe this part of the Manama greenbelt has outlived its usefulness, simply because it has become a burden on those responsible, because people cannot see the wood from the trees, cannot live with the colour green on their plans, instead need to use all the others. Are they prettier colours because they represent change to a future that is made from concrete, bricks, tarmac and mortar? The planners obviously don’t have colours that represent quality of life, natural resources, preservation and natural heritage. They certainly have no colour that represents lateral thinking or alternatives. And yes there are alternative but then its acceptance would mean a radical change in the direction of peoples thinking, of changing sustainable development to one representative of sustainable preservation.
This section of Greenbelt is unique; it represents nearly all that is left of Bahrain's undeveloped agricultural land, it is part of the countries natural heritage. Nowhere else now retains such a high density of sweet water ditches that maintain such a blend of palm plantations, vegetable and fruit gardens along with animal husbandry. Besides, indirectly by virtue of the abandoned parcels of still fertile agricultural land, a huge wildlife reserve of bog reed open water and scrub. The whole area could, given goodwill be easily restored, reinvented as a natural park, a resource as worthy as the Hawar Islands for preservation, a natural equivalent to Muharraq and the Bahrain fort. It is a wonderful natural resource, other than desert species all other species of bird mammal and reptile have representative breeding in the area. For migrating bird species it is unbelievable with over two hundred species of bird recorded in its environs. There is nowhere else left in the country that has such a density of wildlife resources. Its loss to future generations would be catastrophic, we have already lost too much, it is simply now irreplaceable.
Coordinator: Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Arabia
Warners Farm House, Warners Drove,
Somersham, Cambridgeshire, PE28 3WD, UK.
Tel: 01487 841733 (Intl 0044 1487 841733)
From: Sonya Benjamin
Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2016 7:06 PM
To: Mike Jennings ; Paul Vercammen ; Jacky Judas
Subject: Socotra Cormorant Colony on Siniya Island, Umm al-Quwain
Please see the below news articles concerning planned development of Siniya Island, UAE. As one of the last strong-holds of the Socotra Cormorant (currently listed as Vulnerable) in the UAE, this is devastating news. Current research has indicated that this colony is of global importance, with large numbers returning to breed every year.
I am not sure what or it anything can be done at this point, but I felt it my duty to at least spread the news to anyone who may have a vested interest in maintaining the ecological and environmental integrity of the UAE. I have been made aware that persons within the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (formerly the Ministry of Environment and Water) may raise concerns against this development, however, this is yet to be confirmed.
If anyone has any ideas or information regarding the matter and can share them, it would be duly appreciated. Here is hoping that is it not too late and that something can still be done to protect the colony-
Thank you all for your time-
Posted by: Mike Jennings
Sherif Baha El Din email@example.com via yahoogroups.com
11:17 (32 minutes ago)
to undisclosed recipients
My dear wife Mindy passed away on the 18th of March after suffering a brain stroke. For me Mindy was more than a wife, she was my partner, friend and buddy; sharing with me the interest and passion for nature and conservation. She was my greatest fan, as I always called her. Always encouraging and driving me forward.
Mindy was in love with Egypt the deserts, the seas, the birds, and the people. Throughout her life in Egypt she has invested her time in encouraging others and helping young conservationists and nature lovers to get ahead and find opportunities. She was a dynamo and a source of energy that electrified those around her and drove them to take action. Never relenting to a "no" or "impossible" she would find ways around all obstacles with steal determination. I always joked with her that she had a PhD in Egyptian management! She could see through chaos and resolve any complex situation that ten men would be paralysed at, like a knife through butter. Her total honesty and selflessness sometimes ruffled feathers. But there were no BS with Mindy, what you hear from her is the plain truth even if its painful or insulting at times.
Mindy certainly gave a lot and perhaps did not get sufficient acknowledgement, but she never awaited or seeked recognition because she was always busy advocating a cause or developing a project or assisting some one to secure an opportunity.
While I am sad certainly for my personal loss and the pain our two daughters will face, I am in a way equally sad that Egypt lost its greatest fan and nature lost one of its most avid defenders. But her legacy lives in the many many people in far flung parts of Egypt and Middle East that have been affected by Mindy's generosity, encouragement and nourishment. I am sure that Mindy would agree that the best way to commemorate her is to continue her mission with added vigour and determination. Mindy's funeral (ырга) will take place on Thursday, 21st of March 2013 at the Hamdeyya Shazleyya Mosque, located off of Gameat El Dowwal El Arabeyya street in Mohandeseen, Cairo, Egypt between 6:30PM and 9:30PM.
Please also send condolences to Mindy's parents in the USA Gloria and Lyle Rosenzweig
Lyler26 at comcast dot net
Sherif Baha El Din, PhD
The following is an article from 'The Nation' which can also be found at this link:
Rare kingfisher threatened by demise of mangroves
While it does not receive the same attention as the Arabian oryx, dugong or marine turtle, the straits that the collared kingfisher finds itself in are no less dire. Put simply, if the mangroves it calls home completely vanish, so does this beautiful bird. Vesela Todorova reports It hides in mangrove forests, weighs less than 100 grams and is considered an essential part of the UAE's natural heritage.
But the blue-and-white collared kingfisher, which does not have the conservation status of marine turtles and Arabian oryx, is endangered.
Kingfishers are found in many regions, from the Red Sea all the way to Australia. But the subspecies kalbaensis can be found nowhere but in Kalba, on the UAE's east coast, and two small sites in Oman.
If the coastal mangrove forests of Kalba, an enclave in Sharjah, are destroyed the birds will be, too.
A new study of Kalba's kingfisher population showed the birds were still in the swamps but their numbers have fallen since 1995, the first time the population was studied.
That first survey was carried out by the late Simon Aspinall, an environmentalist and bird specialist who estimated between 44 and 55 breeding pairs lived in the Kalba mangroves. This spring, a survey of the area carried out by the preservationists Oscar Campbell, Ahmed Al Ali and Neil Tovey estimated the number of pairs was between 26 and 35. The research was supported by a grant from the Emirates Natural History Group. "The true figure, I suspect, is probably close to 35," said Mr Campbell, as he presented the findings last week at a lecture organised by the group. The team had been very conservative in their estimates, he said. Mr Campbell, the chairman of the Emirates Bird Records Committee, had intended to compare notes with Mr Aspinall, who died in October.
Even with adjustments for differences in the methods used, the data shows a decline in Kalba's collared kingfisher population, although the results were not as bad as the team had anticipated, Mr Campbell said.
The reason the numbers of collared kingfishers are declining is that the condition of the mangrove trees supporting it is also declining. Development and the construction of the Corniche has been harming the forest, Mr Campbell said. "Kingfishers don't just need mangroves, they need high-quality mangroves," he said. The birds nest between February and June, using holes and cracks in aged mangroves to build their nests. "Young mangroves simply do not develop like this," Mr Campbell said, pointing to an old, gnarled tree with a hole in its trunk that had been turned into a nest. "Possibly, what is restricting the population is the lack of suitable nest sites."
Steve James, an environmental scientist and ornithologist, agreed: "We are only dealing with two sets of data here so there is a possibility for error. My personal experience from the past 20 years is that the collared kingfisher has declined. I think the figures are fairly accurate and so is the interpretation." In that time, the area of mangrove has decreased by up to 30 per cent due to development, Mr James said.
Mr Campbell estimates that area to be 6 square kilometres. Some mangroves were destroyed to make room for villas and a new road, he said. And the development of the Corniche limits the amount of seawater reaching the trees. Mangroves need to be submerged twice a day. "This is why some of the trees are under stress," Mr Campbell said. This destruction of the mangroves has led to a shortage of nesting spots for the kingfisher. "It is like six of us sharing a one-bedroom flat. You are not likely to have many children, are you?" Mr James asked.
Crisis in Cyprus: Illegal bird trapping reaches disastrous levels
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added June 4 2010