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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1299: XXX International Horticultural Congress IHC2018: VII International Symposium on Tropical and Subtropical Fruits, Avocado, II International Symposium on Jackfruit and Other Moraceae and II International Symposium on Date Palm

Biodiversity of medicinal and aromatic plants in modern and traditional date palm farms in Northern and central Oman

Authors:   K. Al-Hashmi, R. Al-Yahyai
Keywords:   agroecology, desert climate, traditional farming, sustainable agriculture
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1299.62
Sustainable agriculture in traditional farms has diverse and rich plant species that have multiple uses, including functional medicinal, aromatic and utility values. Oman has eight million date palms (Phoenix dactylifera), which makes date palm a significant crop in the country. Moreover, about 81% of the total cultivated lands irrigated by traditional flood irrigation systems including the date palm farms, thus encourages the growth of a variety of plant species. A survey of naturally growing plants was carried out on modern and traditional date palm farms in northern and central Oman. The survey included nine date palm farms from three governorates (Ad Dakhliyah, Al Batinah South, and Muscat) and one modern farm located in Muscat. The data were analyzed using PAST software to determine the diversity parameters. A total of 51 medicinal and aromatic plants from 16 different plants species and 13 different families were found on traditional system farm while none of them were found in the modern system farm. Al Batinah South Governorate had the highest number of individuals and plant species followed by Ad Dakhliyah Governorate. The data analysis showed a high evenness index (0.92) and a low dominance index (0.12), and a high similarity among the species which is expressed by the Simpson index (0.88). Although modern irrigation and cultural practices may reduce farming costs and increase farm revenue, plant biodiversity is best with traditional farming systems, including flood irrigation.

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