RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s biodiversity is set to reap huge benefits thanks to Red Sea Global planning the “single most challenging horticultural endeavor ever attempted in human history,” the company has announced.
RSG’s fully operational nursery aims to raise over 25 million plants in the Red Sea Project and the ultra-luxury destination AMAALA by 2030, reducing the Kingdom’s reliance on importing foreign plant species and promoting the growth of native flora.
It will also produce over 30 million seedlings, which according to Grant Shaw, senior nursery director at RSG, is “incredibly exciting for horticulturalists.”
“If you think about 25 million plants in the time frame we’re talking about, it’s never been attempted before. It’s like the single most challenging horticultural endeavor ever attempted in human history in the middle of the desert.”
He added: “With our designers, we’ve looked at what can we use natively and then what can we enhance with some adaptive species.”
“Some of the species you see in this region will never be seen anywhere else in the world because they can’t grow elsewhere,” Shaw concluded.
The Red Sea region’s exceptional year-round climate allows for adding a broad range of plants, including cultivated, adapted and native plants, said Fahd Al-Habely, the company’s assistant director of the environmental program department.
Consequently, the company has implemented two initiatives. One is collecting native seeds across the Kingdom, and the other is transplanting mature trees.
With a mandate to increase biodiversity in the area by 30 percent, the company has a “laser-like focus on sustainability,” he explained.
Though the nursery mainly comprises plants native to Saudi Arabia, the giga-project has also been sourcing desert plant species worldwide, including Australia, where the climate is similar to the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has successfully planted over 12 million trees in the past five years through the National Center for Vegetation Development as it moves toward achieving its sustainability goals as part of the Saudi Green Initiative, stated the annual report issued by the National Transformation Program for 2022.
According to the report, more than 22 percent of the treated water in the Kingdom was reused while recording a 35 percent increase in desalinated water production capacity since 2018.
Some of the other achievements include the release of up to 921 endangered animals in national parks and reserves, the first birth of the Arabian oryx at the King Salman Royal Reserve, and the first birth of the Idmi gazelle at the Ibex Reserve.