Zakiya AL-Afifi
PhD Student



October 2014 to present

PhD student


Department of Environment and Geography, University of York, UK


MSc (Sustainability: Environment and Development)


School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK


BSc (Environmental Biology)

College of Science, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman


Diploma in Laboratory Science (Biology)

Applied Science Department, Higher College of Technology, Oman



Description of PhD

Title: The Conservation, Sustainable Use and Management of Mangrove Habitat in Oman.

Supervisors: Prof. David Raffaelli , Dr Bryce Beukers-Stewart and Dr Julia Touza

Funding: General Directorate of Technical Education, Ministry of Manpower, Sultanate of Oman.

TAC: Prof. David Raffaelli, Dr. Bryce Beukers-Stewart, Dr. Julia Touza and Dr. Rob Marchant

Description of thesis:

Zakiya is interested in ecosystem services provided by mangrove habitats and their contribution to human welfare particularly the Omani community. Mangroves are the only salt-tolerant trees inhabiting the intertidal zones of tropical and subtropical latitudes on Earth. These unique ecosystems contribute valuably to the welfare of the human beings throughout their ecological, economic and cultural values. This research aims to explore the role of mangroves ecosystems in Qurum, Sawadi and Mahout in human welfare in Oman.  Each mangrove ecosystem in this study is characterised distinctively from others. Qurum is a natural reserve since 1975 according to the Royal Decree No75/38, while Sawadi has been under restoration and afforestation since 2003.  Mahout ecosystem is one of the naturally existing forests in Oman and experiences the local interaction with the ecosystem itself. The key objectives of the research are to: This project aims to explore the role of mangrove ecosystem for human welfare in Oman. The main objectives are:1) Identify and highlight the contribution of study areas to community well-being based on the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Framework for ecosystem services;2) Identify the drivers of environmental change affecting these mangrove ecosystems; 3) Value the services provided by these ecosystems using arrange of approaches appropriate for each location, such as Total Economic Value; 4) Provide recommendations for the sustainable management of mangrove forests at national level in Oman. 

Previous research

Master thesis: Influence of Ecotourism on Rural Livelihoods in Wadi Bani Habib in Oman


This paper presents a study of the influence of ecotourism on rural livelihoods in Wadi Bani Habib Village in Al-Jabal AL-Akhdar (the Green Mountain), Northern Oman. There is a particular focus on the five capital assets (financial, physical, human, natural and social) that are the core of the sustainable livelihoods framework. It also aims to investigate the perception of local people on ecotourism development in their livelihoods and to examine the cost-benefit share of ecotourism between the members of the community. The study uses a qualitative research approach in which semi-structured interviews were conducted with the heads of the households and a tourism operator from AL-Jabal AL-Akhdar and focus group interviews with women from the village. The resulting qualitative data was the analysed using holistic coding,  one of a range exploratory coding methods.The study shows that ecotourism is making a substantial contribution to the villagers’ financial capital assets, and that is stimulating development of the area’s physical capital and that human capital (skills and knowledge) are being enhanced and developed as a result of the introduction of ecotourism.  The influence on natural capital by locals is noticeable mainly in waste generation with a lack of knowledge on biodiversity value of nature. Finally, the social capital assets may be being eroded by ecotourism and its influence on customs and culture but this is open to question.

In general, ecotourism is perceived as a good thing by the there is some opposition to it,  among younger women.   The study also shows that the cost and benefits (economic, social and environmental) of ecotourism are not shared equally between the community members. Overall, although ecotourism the village was only introduced to the village in 2005, it is fair to say that it has already had considerable influence on the rural livelihoods of the village.


Contact details

Zakiya Al-Affifi
PhD Student
Department of Environment and Geography
Wentworth Way, University of York
YO10 5DD