Greetings and thanks for visiting.

This is my personal website dealing with two of my main interests in life - the natural world and photography.

The overall aim of this website is to promote conservation of the natural world in places with which I am familiar. These areas are mainly central Europe and eastern Arabia. This latter area is currently under severe pressure from a whole host of detrimental influences, all man-made. They can be conveniently summed up under two main headings: desertification (massive vegetation and land degradation) and unprecedented coastal development. Both are having a negative effect not only on biodiversity, but also on human well-being. For instance, the massive dust storms that are now are regular feature in parts of the northern Gulf (Iraq, Kuwait Saudi Arabia etc.) are in part due to large-scale vegetation destruction. Apart from closing down airports, ensuring that you have to clean your flat more often, these dust storms are a serious health hazard and generally make for uncomfortable living. A Kuwaiti friend did, however, point out one advantage: it is a few degrees cooler when it is very dusty. From my point of view, very mild dust is good for photographing plants, as the sky then acts as a giant diffuser!

European habitats and biodiversity are also under threat, often from more insidious causes. Having said that, it beggars belief that areas of outstanding conservation and scientific interest are still being trashed up in Europe under the guise of "economic development".

My modest contribution to encourage better protection of the natural environment is by:
1. Showing lots of "nice" photographs I have taken over the past years to provoke interest in the natural world, and
2. Providing short overviews of conservation / ecological issues, with links to articles for further reading.

Although I will gradually add information on European habitats and species, this site will have a strong Arabian flavour, not only because I am currently living in Oman, but also because there is an urgent need for more information in this under-researched part of the world.

I have been fortunate in life in that I have been able to work as a professional ecologist for over 25 years, both in Germany and Arabia. Furthermore, I have worked as a field ecologist for government agencies and research institutes (full- and part-time), a part-time ecological consultant for private companies (Europe and the Middle East) and have spent seven years teaching at university level (Kuwait University, University of Rostock). After spending four years at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research working mainly on desert ecosystem restoration and native desert plant production (extremely interesting!), I have recently returned to academia and taken up the position of Associate Professor at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Oman. There I am employed primarily as a botanist / vegetation ecologist, but spend some of my spare time birdwatching. Like Kuwait, Oman is a fantastic place for birding! In order not to have to rely on the sometimes dodgy technology at the university, I am putting images of Arabian plant species of the families we are dealing with in the latter part of the Angiosperm Biology course that I am currently teaching on this website. This will enable students to familiarise themselves with these species whenever it suits them. The images can be found under the SQU link on the home page.

The other categories of images (Miscellaneous, Architecture) are mainly travel photos, and give friends and family a chance to catch up with where I have been, and where I currently am.

You can contact me with any suggestions or comments at

followed by the "at" sign, and then
dot (replace with full stop)

Sorry about the circuitous way of writing this, but I do not want to be inundated with spam.

Gary Brown

September 2009



dhofar coast


Dhofar coastline, Oman