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GSAS Sponsored Seminar on Native and Productive Plants fodr Sustainable Vegetation

May 26,2015

In association with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Gulf Organization for Research & Development (GORD), the authority for knowledge on sustainability in the MENA region, has organized a GSAS Sponsored Seminar on “Native and Productive Plants for Sustainable Vegetation and Landscapes in Hot Arid Climates”, on May 23rd, 2015 at Katara Multipurpose Hall, Doha, Qatar.

The Seminar’s presentations were delivered by Staffan Hilberg, CEO, and Christopher Steele, COO from Heliospectra, Sweden, and Dr. Arvind Bhatt from GORD and Dr. Esam Elsarrag, Director R&D.
 

The breathtaking seminar was attended by approximately 100 professionals and experts from various disciplines, representing wide spectrum of the construction industry regionally & globally including government agencies, developers, consultants & contractors.
The seminar aimed to raise awareness among the local people, nursery owners, landscape designers, and concerned parties to encourage them to grow native and productive plants, which help to create a sustainable urban environment that reduces the environmental impacts while satisfying local community needs. 
The seminar seized the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • GORD research efforts which focuses on nurturing & growing native plants that:
  • Can survive in the harsh environment conditions of Qatar & GCC.
  • Can be used for urban landscaping.
  • Can provide information such as survival rate, height and spread of plants that could be used for landscaping.
  • Can provide educational opportunities to students, architects & horticulturalists in cultural, economic values & the propagation of native species. 
  • Can support the best seeds storage conditions of the different species.

The Seminar also covered the following topics:
1-    Achieving GSAS V2.1 scores through sustainable landscapes using Native and Productive plants:

  • Minimum landscape and vegetation requirements
  • Irrigation and Water Consumption
  •  Plants Shading and Shading Calculations

2-    Revealing GORD’s Native Plant Research outcomes (Funded by Qatar National Research Funds – Member of Qatar Foundation – NPRP 5 – 260-1-053):

  • Growing Native Plants which can survive in Qatar & GCC Harsh Environment.
  • Potential native plants for use urban landscape & their features & characteristics

3-    Exploring Technohub in QSTP for Controlled Environment & Agriculture Techniques:

  • Developing food crops in the GCC countries
  •  Experiencing the crops growing in both sole source lighting conditions (i.e. only using LED lights) and supplemental lighting conditions (i.e. greenhouse or partial solar lighting conditions in combination with LED lighting)
  •  Learning about various cultivation methods for crop production (greenhouses, indoor, vertical farming, hydroponic systems, aeroponic systems, etc.)

The opening session of the seminar featured a technical presentation by Dr. Esam Elsarrag, focused on the importance of the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) as the first integrated and Performance-Based Rating System for the construction industry in the MENA region. 
Dr. Elsarrag reveals GORD’s latest research of EcoVilla and TechnoHub, and emphasized the importance of GSAS implementation in encouraging greening through native, low-impact or productive vegetation to improve the urban living and enhance quality of lives. He added: “Applying GSAS standards will minimize lawn and encourage native or low-impact vegetation for the site in order to reduce irrigation demand”.
Following the morning session, Dr. Arvind Bhatt, delivered a presentation on the “Potential native Plants for Use in GCC Hot & Arid Climate”, where he addressed the challenges and opportunities, he said: “The availability of water in the GCC countries is very limited and these countries are situated in one of the most water-stressed regions of the world, in addition, the climate change over the next decades is expected to decrease annual precipitation, However, using native desert species in landscaping could be the sustainable way to reduce the pressure on limited water resources”. Afterward, Dr. Bhatt listed all available native plants species in the State of Qatar and GCC region.
At the closing session, both Christopher Steele and Staffan Hilberg valued the remarkable efforts which GORD is extending toward creating a sustainable urban environment that reduces the environmental impacts within the MENA region, they added: “This is a unique and valuable opportunity for us to collaborate on a global level to join efforts, exchange ideas & thoughts on areas related to the sustainable vegetation and landscapes”. After that, they delivered a presentation on “Food Crops & Controlled Environments Agriculture Techniques for Use in the GCC Countries”, where it highlighted Heliospectra’s main objective in using the technology of intelligent light for the growth of plants which leads to energy efficiency, increasing of quality and smart technology.


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