#QATARILITMONTH: Nature and Biodiversity in Qatar

QATARILITMONTH: Nature and Biodiversity in Qatar

Qatari Oryx

Qatar is an 11,437-square-kilometer peninsula surrounded by the Arabian Gulf on three sides. Most of the land of Qatar is flatlands, with some rocky hills, salt flats and mudflats along the coast. Although Qatar has been classified as a hot, subtropical desert region and, with no rivers or lakes, relies on rain and groundwater for fresh water, it is still rich with many animal and plant species. The peninsula is home to around 1,900 animal species and 371 flowering plants, some quite rare.

The Arabian oryx is native to Qatar and is a symbol of the country’s traditional desert heritage. Qatar and its neighbors have launched numerous efforts to preserve the Arabian oryx from extinction.

The animal was the official mascot of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, and many Qatari institutions, including Qatar Airways, use the oryx as part of their logos.

The Oryx was the Asian Games mascot in 2006

Qatar has beautiful seas with rich marine environments and biodiversity, including barchan dunes, seagrass beds, coral reefs and mangrove swamps. Native wildlife includes rare species such as the hawksbill turtle, leatherback turtle and Dugong. In March and April, the seas of Qatar are home to the world’s largest population of whale sharks, who mate in the area.

You can watch the below video for details:

Although Qatar is a small country, its 371 diverse plant species belong to 236 genera and 61 families (Qatar Biodiversity Inventory, 2003). However, the nature of the severe climatic conditions of high temperatures with insufficient rain means most of them have short lives. Also, there are only a few tree species, such as the mangrove, which occupy the swampy, muddy tidal shorelines in Messaid, Al Wakra and elsewhere. These mangroves have adapted to their ecosystem to grow into lush forests, one of the most productive marine environments. The best way to explore the mangroves in Qatar is by kayak, and several tour organizers and specialized companies plan sunrise and sunset tours.

Qatari mangroves are best reached by kayak

Qatar is working hard to protect natural life as part of our Islamic values and not to neglect our responsibilities in preserving the earth’s resources. This has played a role in setting legislation, policies and national development to protect and develop biodiversity in Qatar.

Book Recommendations

Birds of Qatar

by Frances Gillespie 

(2013) Bloomsbury Qatar

ISBN: ‎ 9789992194799

Insects and Arachnids of Qatar 

by Frances Gillespie 

(2013) Bloomsbury Qatar

ISBN: 9789992194713


Common Birds of Qatar

by EriksenHanneJensGillespieFrances

(2011) Published by Frances Gillespie 

ISBN: 9789948157472

The Convention on Biological Diversity

Open Access link:


Written By:

Amani S. Al-Yafei

Amani S. Al Yafei, Head Librarian, Science Section, Qatar National Library has as a Bachelor of Arts and science from Qatar University and a master of Library and Information Studies from University College London. She joined the library in 2015 because she believes in the importance of libraries in community development.

#QatariLitMonth is curated by Abeer S. Al-Kuwari

Abeer works as director of Research and Learning Services at the newly established Qatar National Library (QNL). Abeer’s work focuses on engaging library researchers in the Qatari community to explore archival and libraries as memory institutions and documentary heritage.

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