Muscat: HH Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for Defence Affairs, launched on Sunday Oman Mountains Encyclopedia. The ceremony was held at the Royal Opera House Muscat.
HH Sayyid Shihab described the encyclopedia as a “major, valuable project that has many scholarly benefits. The encyclopedia has been compiled under the directives of the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimour.”
In this part of the world, the Sultanate boasts distinctive natural landscape that deserves to be studied and researched, notably its mountains, caves, fauna and fora, HH Sayyid Shihab said, adding that this encyclopedia will constitute rich repertoire for researchers from the Sultanate and abroad.
HH Sayyid Shihab thanked Mohammed al Zubair and the research team for the efforts they exerted towards the accomplishment of the project in record time.
Meanwhile, Dr Said Mohammed al Saqri, Minister of Economy, head of the encyclopedia’s team and its Editor-in-Chief, said, “In the beginning, we thought the project would not take more than one or two years, but, once we started to draft the outline of the book—which later developed into an encyclopedia, we discovered that the role of mountain chains in the Sultanate surpasses the pure geographical and geological dimension. Indeed, social and demographical aspects informed the layout of the encyclopedia. The centuries-old Omani human settlements along different epochs enriched the features of the encyclopedia, which has yet to be researched and analyzed in a scholarly manner. Maps, charts and graphs have been drawn out and approved to offer credible and accurate information to researchers”.
He described the mountains’ plant cover as “unique” in the world, with some species found exclusively in Oman mountains and not available anywhere in the globe. Therefore, Oman mountains are considered a significant part of the world ecosystem, coupled with the Sultanate’s cultural heritage. They are a biological reservoir and a home for agrarian settlements that existed thousands of years ago.
Oman Mountains Encyclopedia is a basic step forward towards sustainable development of mountains and it will help protect biological diversity therein.
The project has been designed as a reference that informs and guides planning and policy decision making in the country. This is in addition to the encyclopedia’s role in engendering the spirit of exploring the exotic mountainous environments of Oman. –ONA