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al Dimaniyyat Islands Nature Reserve
Date of Submission: 23/05/2013
Criteria: (x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of the Sultanate of Oman to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Sultanate of Oman , North of Muscat and east of Wilayat Barka
Coordinates: N 2589943 E 593653
Ref.: 5839
Al Dimaniyyat Islands Nature Reserve is an archipelago of nine islands along the coast of Wilayat al Seeb (Muscat)
and Wilayat Barka (see the attached map). They are surrounded by rocks and shallow seas which lie only 16-18
kilometers from the coast and can only be reached by boat. The islands were designated as a nature reserve on
3/4/1996 with the aim of conserving turtle nesting beaches, natural scenery, coral reefs and birds, as well as
promoting ecotourism.
Reserve Resources
To the north .The islands are composed of prominent limestone rocks and ancient coral reefs .Physical Resources
they slope steeply torwards the sea to depths of more than 25 meters. To the south they are flanked by shallow
.sandy seas with extensive coral reefs
Biological Resources. The al Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve is a nationally, regionally, and internationally
important conservation area, in which thousands of marine birds nest in summer, creating a wonderful panorama.
Population of following species, which are of special interest nationally and regionally, occurs in the reserve : Redbilled Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii), White-cheeked
Tern (Sterna repressa), Bridled Tern (Sterna anaethetus), Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata) and Common Noddy (Anous
stolidus) nest on north facing cliffs of these islands. The magnificent Ospreys nest in winter months on top of the
more prominent cliffs.
Al Dimaniyyat Islands support a multitude species of coral reefs in the area, which grow densely because of the
abundant and un-polluted substratum of the shallow seas. Coral shoals that grow in these shallow seas protect the
island beaches. Coral grows mainly on exposed rocks, forming a multi-meter frame. In addition, there are many coral
species that grow on either the rocky plains or the shattered coral reefs. They provide excellent habitat for the
abundant reef fishes that provide the bulk of the harvest by fishermen.
At least one or two species of terrestrial snake live on the islands, whilst marine snakes can often be seen in the
surrounding waters. Two species of turtle, the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys
imbricata), are frequent visitors in the reserve. From 250-300 Hawksbill Turtles nest annually on the sandy beaches
of some of the islands whilst the Green Turtles are feeding in the shallow seas. By providing shelter for these
endangered species, the islands acquire international importance.
Two pearl mussels species (Pinctada radiata) and (P. margaritifera) are fairly common in the reserve. Also, the spiny
lobster (Panulirus versicolor) are equally widespread. Similarly, the reserve hosts several marine mammals such as
the bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, spinner dolphins and humpback whale. However, there are no terrestrial
mammals that inhabit the islands.
The reserve has 15 species of wild plants that densely cover parts of al Kharaaba Island and al Jibaal al Kibaar
Island, making these islands the most important habitat for nesting birds. Island birds normally seek nesting cover
which are just beneath thick ground vegetation.
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
Al Dimaniyyat Islands Nature Reserve offers a shelter to a wide range of biodiversity unique in an island ecosystem
and located in an arid region. It provides a very vital breeding and nesting area for marine birds, migrants and
globally endangered turtles.
Criterion (x): Al Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve meets criterion X as it encompasses natural habitats vital for the
survival of large numbers of birds, two species of turtles and various species of coral reefs and associated reef fishes
as well as other marine organisms.
Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
Except for some isolated disturbed state of the coral reef within the vicinities of the reserve because of harmful fishing
methods employed by local fishermen, all other components of the reserve are intact and still in its pristine
condition. Nesting habitats of resident and some migratory birds are in active use. Nesting turtles are prevalent
visitors that appear least affected if ever by tourists traversing the reserve. It is interesting that such ecosystem is still
within its normal and unimpeded processes supporting fully the existence of biodiversity therein. Interventions
applied from the protection efforts of the concerned agencies have so far been effective in the maintenance of the
island’s integrity. The adequate distance of these islands from the main coasts further contributed in the preservation
of this fascinating reserve.
The objective of establishing al Dimaniyat Islands the islands. Other management objectives include providing
optimum conditions for turtle and bird nesting. It is also intended to encourage and facilitate field research, to manage
recreational use at a suitable level and to ensure that local use of the marine environment by fishermen is
Four rangers were recruited in the reserve to carry out management activities such as monitoring fishing and diving
clubs activites and patrolling reserve to control which landing and diving. Rangers were provided with proper training,
two boats and other essential equipment to undertake their responsibilities. Temporary office for rangers were
established on the main island to facilitate monitoring and research activities as well as to help in visitor control.
Coral cleaning campaigns are carried out regularly with active participation from various stakeholders. Bird counting
and other research on nesting turtles were likewise carried out by scientists from different agencies as part of their
monitoring programme of the islands.
In order to facilitate the management of the reserve and minimize the impacts of human activities, camping on islands
was not permitted from May to October every year when most of the birds nesting occur. In addition, landing and
camping on islands during off nesting season is only allowed on selected islands to limit any possible interference on
certain areas.
Comparison with other similar properties
Al Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve can be compared in global features with the following protected areas:
Farasan and Um al Gammari Islands in Saudi Arabia.
Italian Saya National Coral reef Nature Reserve
Fernkloof Nature Reserve in South Africa.
Turks and Caico Islands in Caribbean.
Henderson Islands in UK.
Farasan Islands are composed a group of 84 islands and islets that are uninhabited by humans. The reserve
supports a large population of seabirds. Gazelles also inhabit the islands, so far considered as the largest population
of gazelles remaining in the country. Waters surrounding the islands are also feeding grounds for the Dugongs, Sea
Turtles and Manta Rays. Recognized as an Important Bird Area and named as Special Nature Reserve, Umm al
Gamari Island in Saudi Arabia is composed of two small flat fossil coral islands. The uninhabited islands having a
combined total of 14.7 ha are examples of relatively unspoilt Red Sea Islands with an interesting community of
terrestrial breeding birds and dense vegetation cover. Also protected in the reserve is the low-lying coral reef that
support an amazing marine community.
Located in South Africa, Fernkloof Nature Reserve has an area of 1,800 ha. In 1957, it was proclaimed to protect the
coastlines and its patch of evergreen forest. Flora is unique having a selection of some of the biggest carnivorous
plants known in the world. The reserve is inhabited by Grey Rhebok, Cape Grysbok, Klipspringer, Baboon,
Mongoose and Dassie together with some 92 bird species. Whales are sighted in the open sea.
Henderson Island is located in the volcanic Pitcairn Island in the south-central Pacific. It is covered by dense scrub
forest and considered as one of the few relatively undisturbed elevated limestone islands in the world. It has an
endemic species, Acrocephalus taiti being restricted-range occurring within the interior forest and surrounding
scrub. Four other bird species (Porzana atra, Ptilinopus insularis, Vini stepheni and Acrocephalus taiti are presently
in the vulnerable category. Eleven breeding bird species and other bird migrants are also supported in the island.