The Soqotra Archipelago was declared a World Heritage Site in 2008 in recognition of its globally unique and important biodiversity. It is home to hundreds of endemic species that are found nowhere else on Earth, including more than 300 endemic plants, as well as endemic reptiles, birds, fish, molluscs, crustaceans, insects and arachnids. Its unique habitats – Dragons Blood woodland, montane mosaic vegetation where every plant species above 800m is endemic – add to its dramatic landscapes and vistas.
The natural heritage of Soqotra plays a vital role in the day-to-day lives and livelihoods of Soqotri people, and also forms part of the culture and heritage of the islands. The endemic language contains many phrases and words that describe specific environmental features, and the endemic plants especially are used in a wide variety of ways that benefit people and have, in the past, enabled international trade.