Al Hima : a way of life


This book is the fruit of a wide collaboration. It is an expression of rich ideas. But most of all it’s an articulation
of passion. Almost every person who contributed to this book is passionate about the hima question and the
traditional approaches to conservation in general and the wealth in knowledge that indigenous people of this
region hold in their collective memory.

The Hima is a traditional system of resource tenure that has been practised for more than 1400 years in the Arabian Peninsula. It is the most widespread and longstanding indigenous/traditional conservation institution in the Middle East, and perhaps on Earth! The Arabic word “hima” literally means “a protected area”. In pre-Islamic times, access to this place was declared forbidden by the individual or group who owned it. Later its meaning evolved to signify a rangeland reserve, a piece of land set aside seasonally to allow regeneration. This publication introduces readers to the concept of this traditional system and brings insights to the revived use of this indigenous institution.

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