Yemen

Vulnerable Socotra, 2014

Socotra is an island and a small archipelago of four islands in the mouth of the Gulf of Aden. The island is very isolated and a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as "the most alien-looking place on Earth. The climate is rather inclement and variable. The island was already known to the Greek and Roman world as far back as 300 BC for the production of Dragon's Blood, a bright red resin that is obtained from Dracaena cinnabar, which is endemic  to the island of Socotra. The resin has been in continuous use since ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense and dye.

 

Due to its remoteness, Socotra has so far escaped civil conflict affecting other parts of Yemen. However, it has become increasingly isolated due to difficult access, especially after two cyclones destroyed villages, roads, electricity and water facilities as well as trees in 2015. Dragon's blood trees have come to symbolize Socotra, and as a rare and valuable species they help protect it. But for how long?