TARIQ AL-THAQAFI, ABHA
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has successfully protected a tree over 500 years old from damage and falling after its trunk was gradually cracked in Asir, south Saudi Arabia.
With the help of specialists, the ministry connected the tree trunk and all its limbs in order to prevent it from cracking and falling, after its tissues were damaged due to paving cement in the area surrounding its trunk.
The director of the ministry’s branch in Qena governorate, Mohammed Al-Ghuraissi, said that the tree is distinguished by its magnitude and considered a historical location passed down by generations of residents who have guarded it in Asir. He noted that the limbs that were damaged due to cement layers nearby were treated.
He told Arab News that the tree is known by the name “Al-Roq’a” (Patch) and that it has sheltered people over the years, with its location central to gatherings, meetings and conversations.
He noted that based on recent studies conducted by the ministry, the tree dates back more than 500 years, which was confirmed by the frequent accounts of historians and key figures who spoke about its big size and bifurcated roots.
He said that the tree roots had penetrated the well due to its ongoing expansion, and the well — which is in good condition — is renowned for its depth and water consumption. The well, along with the old tree, have become a stop for tourists of all nationalities in Qena governorate.
He said that the tree’s scientific name is “Atteen Al-Binqali.” Specialized teams conducted scientific research to determine the tree’s vital characteristics, age and factors that affect it.
The trunk’s circumference is 7.7 meters and it is 20 meters tall, with a supporting stone from the direction of the valley, as well as structures around the tree built by the Qena municipality to protect it from flash floods.
Al-Ghuraissi said that working groups were formed to observe the tree’s condition. Rotten sections have been removed due to a cement layer.
The tree trunk was gradually cracked, which almost caused its falling and death, and it was treated by removing rocks and the tree’s rotting parts, in addition to connecting its trunk and all its limbs in order to prevent it from cracking and falling, he added.
He noted that supports were installed for the huge branches to enhance the tree’s stability, and that specialized teams treated damaged parts with the necessary pesticides, under the supervision of experts and specialists from the ministry.