The biggest man-made forest in the GCC countries is nearing completion in Qatar, some 50km from Doha, near Umm Salal Ali.

“The 8.3sq km forest, which includes two lakes and four islands, is expected be completed by March 20, 2017,” Rafi Ohanian, operations manager, Nakheel Landscapes, told Gulf Times.

“About 950,000 trees are being planted in the entire area. The two lakes, spread across 280,000sqm, are located next to each other. We can already see thousands of birds perching on the trees and near the lakes,” he further elaborated.

According to Ohanian, the whole area of the forest is situated near the Doha North Sewage Treatment Works (DNSTW) plant. “We have a fully automated irrigation system. We are using the treated water from the DNSTW plant for the irrigation of the entire project.”

The official revealed that more than 50% of the works have been completed. “The lakes have been completed. The trees are being planted and will be completed within the time frame. The trees planted last spring have grown to big size,” he recalled.

“All the trees are native or near native hardwood. Almost all of them are resistant to the climatic conditions of the country. There are some sections within the whole area where trees are planted in such a way that they become dense forest areas. The whole area is flat with small mounds in between. Already marshy areas have been formed on the banks of the lakes,” highlighted Ohanian.

The whole area is expected to be a public recreational park, according to the Nakheel Landscapes official. “It will be a fantastic experience rarely available anywhere in this part of the world. It will have picnic areas as well as hiking areas. There could be boating and other facilities,” he added.