With a focus on quality and scientific precision, Hidden Beauty is set to become the definitive guide to plants in Qatar. In addition to the high-quality images throughout, which facilitate the identification of plants, the detailed information has been edited and reviewed by leading experts in Middle Eastern plants at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in order to ensure accuracy. This process has led, among others, to clarifying and rectifying past misidentifications, and to shedding light on 10 new species of plants. The book contains peer-reviewed information on closely related topics such as ethnobotany, etymology, mythology, and ethnomedicine. Targeting both professionals in the field as well as a general audience, the release of Hidden Beauty is timed to take full advantage of the events surrounding the 2022 World Cup in Doha and the need for environmental assessments at a national and regional level.
Dr Renee Richer received her BA in biology from the University of Chicago and her PhD in biology from Harvard University in 2004. She taught at the American University of Armenia from 2005-2007. Dr Richer’s conservation work at the American University of Armenia was recognised by the Whitley Award, the UK’s largest conservation award. She worked for Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar from 2007–2014 and continues to work in the field of environmental science, terrestrial ecosystems, sustainable development and human health in Qatar. Her current work focuses on the intersection of biological processes, sustainable development and human health. For the last decade she has been working to understand the physiology and ecology of complex biocrusts in deserts and the bioactive compounds they produce. Renee is currently employed at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.
With 35 years’ experience as a professional botanist, Dr Sabrina Knees has held several positions with the Royal Horticultural Society, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). She completed her PhD in Systematics, Phylogenetics and Conservation of Abies around the Mediterranean Basin at the University of Reading. In 2005 she was appointed as a researcher on the Flora of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra at RBGE, which confirmed her passion for desert plants, their habitats and conservation. Extensive fieldwork in Qatar, Oman and Yemen has fine-tuned her knowledge of the flora and this has been invaluable for various conservation projects, including IUCN Red Listing programmes for Arabian plants. She continues to advise on several plant conservation projects and is actively involved in a number of botanical and horticultural publications.
"In these times of global biodiversity loss, climate change and environmental degradation, it is of the utmost importance to have a comprehensive, correct and scientiﬁcally up-to-date documentation of national biodiversity. Full of exceptional, close-up photography, Hidden Beauty will function as an encouragement for readers to support both the conservation and restoration of Qatar’s ecosystems and scientiﬁc research into the country’s flora, vegetation and Wildlife habitats. This book is a precious instrument in support of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration."
– Benno Böer, Vegetation ecologist and UNESCO Natural Science Programme Specialist
"Everyone living in or even visiting Qatar should have a copy of Hidden Beauty on their coffee table or book shelf. It should be placed in every single classroom. Hidden Beauty is both a stunning exposition of an overlooked part of Qatar’s biodiversity, and an evocative invitation to immerse oneself in the hunt for biological beauty."
– Dr Paul Alan Cox, TIME Magazine "Heroes of Medicine”, Goldman Environmental Prize Awardee and former President of the Society of Economic Botany
"This lavishly illustrated and authoritative guide provides a fascinating insight into the plants of Qatar. Whilst containing a wealth of information on the ﬂora, it is not over-burdened with technical terms, and its many stunning photographs should enable the identiﬁcation of any plant found growing in the deserts of Qatar."
– Anthony G. Miller, Research Associate Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Vice Chair IUCN Species Survival Commission West Asia Arabian Plant Group, and Founder and former Director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants