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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Al Atm, a source of life in Jabal al Akhdhar

2025759
2025759

Once you reach the heights of Jabal al Akhdhar you are drawn to green areas where many types of plants and trees native to Oman mix. Among the most important of these species is the Al Atm tree (Olea Europaea), which is classified as one of the perennial trees in the country, with a lifespan of more than 400 years, according to the latest environmental studies specialised in plant sciences.


The Al Atm tree is distinguished by its dense leaves. It has gained importance among the local population along the heights of the Al Hajar Mountains, especially those located within the range of Jabal al Akhdhar and Jabal Shams. People in these areas depend on it because it provides many daily life requirements for hundreds of years.


The residents benefit from this tree in several ways, including the manufacture of pillars for roofs for houses built of stone, as it is characterised by the strength and rigidity of its trunks. It is heavy and does not splinter easily, making it useful in the construction and manufacture of wooden tools. The trees are also used as a remedy for animal diseases etc.


The tree also gives “tar oil” or wood oil, which is used in painting boats, veterinary treatments, and the finest ‘Miswak’ to clean teeth.


Those interested in beekeeping spend most of their time on the mountain peaks and valleys, looking for the best places to place their apiary houses to get the best honey, as the tree is rich in flowers to feed the bees.


Thus, the Al Atm honey, produced in the high mountains, is classified as the best honey. Beekeepers are interested in Al Atm honey, as there is good pasture for bees and good food rich in nutrients.


Environmentally, the Al Atm tree helps keep temperatures moderated by absorbing sunlight and releasing water vapour into the air. It increases the humidity in the atmosphere. This tree helps prevent water pollution, as the roots of trees absorb and filter groundwater and prevent rainwater from sweeping pollutants into the waters of the seas and oceans. It also contributes to incubating several species of Omani birds and butterflies.


“We welcome everyone to enjoy the climate of Jabal al Akhdhar, especially during the summer. There are tourists who visit this area, but some of them, unfortunately, do barbecue and throw waste that affects the trees adversely. We call upon visitors to adhere to best tourist practices,” some locals told the Observer.


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