When we think of vibrant biodiversity, it is the Amazonian jungles, the American Great Plains or the vast oceans that come to mind. For good reason, as they have been a source of pharmaceuticals, nutritionals, and biomass for energy products. It is for that reason that so many of us support conservation efforts to prevent deforestation in the rain forests and over fishing in the oceans. That global support has helped countries such as Brazil, the United States, and Australia implement strict legislation to prevent the export and exploitation of their natural biodiversity by foreigners for commercial purposes. India and many other developing nations have also set limits on which biodiversity samples can be exported.
We think that the desert is a barren place that does not need protection. However, Abu Dhabi and the UAE have a unique and unexplored environment full of natural diversity that is only found in the Arabian Peninsula. From the oil rich halophyte (salt loving) plants that thrive in the UAE’s badlands to the nourishing and medicinal Ghaf tree that provides shade among the dunes, the UAE’s coasts, desserts, wadis, and sabkhas have evolved unique and potentially useful plants and animals, most of which have yet to be discovered.
The desert has always been a key part of the UAE’s history. Its natural resources have provided food and substance for countless generations. With proper care and stewardship, the bounty hidden in their depths can bring sustainable and renewable prosperity to a new generation of UAE citizens. Let’s make sure we protect it and keep it for safe for our children and the generations to come.