The region’s largest manmade forest is coming up in Qatar’s desert

New forest by Umm Slal Ali

Nakheel Landscapes

New forest by Umm Slal Ali

The biggest manmade forest in the region is being created in the middle of the desert north of Doha.

The wood, which will cover an area of 8.3 square km, will feature 95,000 trees with 28 different species, all of which have been chosen to withstand the local climate.

There will also be four lakes across 280,000 sq meters, Rafi Ohanian, operations director at Nakheel Landscapes, told Doha News.

Each will have trees and will serve as bird and wildlife sanctuaries, he added.

Doha North Sewage Treatment Works plant

Ashghal

Doha North Sewage Treatment Works plant

The forest is near Umm Slal Ali, 25km north of Doha, and is adjacent to the Doha North Sewage Treatment Works.

This QR3.63 billion plant, which started operations in February this year,  is the first in Qatar to use techniques such as ultrafiltration and ultra-violet technology to treat sewage water.

It processes the sewage to produce water that can be used for irrigation, in a bid to reduce the use of desalinated water for plants and crops.

Buffer zone

Work started on the forest project in early 2015 and is due to be complete by March next year.

It was designed as a “buffer zone” for the sewage plant, public works authority Ashghal previously said.

New forest at Umm Slal Ali

Nakheel Landscapes

New forest at Umm Slal Ali

So far, around 30,000 of the trees have been planted and the lakes have been dug and filled, Ohanian said.

The trees are a mix of native species as well as more decorative types that can cope with Qatar’s harsh, dry climate.

Treated water from the nearby plant is being used to irrigate the area.

“The aim is to let nature take its course. Natural marshes are already forming around the trees which has created new habitats for birds.

“The lakes are already filled and the islands made. Each of the islands has forests and the hope is that they will become become bird habitats too,” Ohanian said.

When Ashghal first tendered the project, the plan was for the forest to be open to the public, with picnic areas.

More green spaces

Qatar authorities have been working in recent years to increase the number of green and natural areas in the country.

The Ministry of Municipality and the Environment (MME/Baladiya) has also been upgrading existing parks while building new ones.

Al Khor Park

MME

Al Khor Park

A new family park in Al Khor, which opened in February this year, has already proved a big hit with visitors at the weekends and during holidays.

Work is also underway  to replace the currently closed Al Bidda/Al Rumailah Park in central Doha, by the Corniche.

Led by the Public Engineering Office (PEO), up-to-date plans for the redeveloped area have yet to be publicly released.

An overhaul is also planned for the family park in Al Muntazah, which has been closed for years.

Last month, the MME released initial renderings of what the redeveloped park, next to Holiday Villa on C-Ring Road, will look like. However, it hasn’t given any further details or timeline for the project.

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