One of the most pressing reasons is that the archipelago hosts the largest and most diverse island of Socotra, a global example of island-specific biological phenomena. In fact, Socotra is one of the five oceanic islands in the world with the highest percentage of endemic plant species. What’s more, many of the island’s reptiles, insects and birds, as well as the island’s languages, are endemic: specialized, found nowhere else, and therefore at a particularly high risk of extinction. The living and abiotic elements that make Socotra so unique have existed and evolved there for millions of years, many of which have remained virtually unchanged over that time. In recent geological history, humans also began to inhabit the islands, developing an intimately intertwined relationship with their surroundings over thousands of years. Some organisms were introduced, others were eradicated. Caves became homes and lagoons became pantries (in some cases, both still do today). Humans create cultural heritage and are intrinsically connected to the unique nature of their home island
. A striking example of this legacy is Socotra’s extensive ethnobotanical tradition, with most 830+ plant species on the island having at least one application in the human realm.
Like the flora, fauna and land from which it was formed, Socotra’s cultural heritage has something special about it. In stark contrast to many other similar island civilizations throughout history, until recently Socotra’s environment and population coexisted in remarkably harmonious harmony. Fisheries are exploited consciously and carefully, and free-range livestock are raised according to strict rules to maximize the production of animal products and minimize ecologically damaging overgrazing. Socotra has sustainably harvested its valuable endemic botanical wealth, the products of which have long been in high demand globally. The resin of the huge but extremely fragile endemic Socotra dragon tree (Dracaena cinnabari), or the aromatic and inspiring long-leaved Socotra frankincense tree (Boswellia elongata) (Photo: Socotra_7),
Harvested during clearly defined seasons and in limited quantities, taking into account the biology of these species and how best to protect them from flourishing. Socotra’s rich land is utilized in a way that allows it to be bequeathed; like a precious resource that deserves respect and respect. Traditional Socotra land management practices are still prevalent today, making Socotra’s human inhabitants custodians of their land rather than colonists. However, as is the case in most other places in the world, the delicate balance between human existence and the well-being of nature has begun to shift for the worst in the past few decades.