RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve recently announced its goal to plant 3.1 million trees by 2027.
“We will implement a part of it independently, while the second part will be implemented in partnership with the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification,” said reserve CEO Maher Al-Gothmi.
He said there were many projects to resettle wildlife in the reserve, in collaboration with the National Center for Wildlife, and there were also cleaning campaigns to remove waste from the reserve.
The reserve had five goals in mind, he added.
These were preserving and redeveloping wildlife, improving the visitor experience, engaging the private sector, achieving and regulating access to the reserve, and offering a variety of hospitality options.
“We are working in accordance with our strategy to increase the participation of the private sector in improving the experience of our visitors by offering environmentally friendly investment opportunities,” he told Arab News.
Al-Gothmi hoped to make the reserve a tourist attraction in the region.
“We are keen to have quick and real contributions to developing the visitors’ experience while maintaining the priority of protecting and developing wildlife.”
The King Abdulaziz Reserve is linked administratively to the Royal Reserves Council, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority, which the Minister of Interior oversees, is in charge of supervising the reserve and working to develop it by approving the necessary regulations to achieve its goals.
This work is done in collaboration with various sectors, while also increasing private sector participation in implementing the authority's projects and achieving its goals.
Al-Gothmi said: “In terms of security, we are proud of the Special Forces for Environmental Security and their efforts to protect and develop wildlife in accordance with the regulations approved by the authority's board of directors. We collaborate with them to achieve the reserve's objectives.”
The King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve is taking numerous steps to protect the region's environment.
“We are collaborating with the SFES, and we will soon launch a group of rangers who will support environmental security efforts, as well as educate and guide visitors. We focused on selecting them from the reserve's local community to contribute to the local community's involvement in protecting the wildlife in the reserve.”
A royal decree calls for royal reserves that are open to the public, but it forbids hunting, overgrazing, logging, and camping.
Al-Gothmi said the Saudi government supported the environmental cause and that the establishment of royal reserves, the SFES, and national environment centers were all part of this support.
He believed the Saudi leadership's goals of protecting and developing wildlife and revitalizing ecotourism could be achieved with coordinated efforts from government agencies, the private sector, and community awareness.