There are more than 400 forests in Abu Dhabi, with 19 million trees in 228,000 hectares. They provide numerous benefits, helping to protect roads from erosion, while providing a safe habitat for around 36,000 animals. Most are government-owned and EAD is the sole manager, as well as managing many privately owned forests.
The single biggest challenge is to reduce the amount of irrigation water. The forests consume 214 million cubic metres of groundwater per annum, 95% of the total national consumption. The forests also require extensive infrastructure - pumps, water storage tanks and distribution hardware.
We are making our forests more manageable and economically viable through a number of strategies:
- A field-based study to assess and optimise water use, with an aim to reduce it drastically and introduce more recycled water
- Thinning out non-native tree species that demand excessive watering and growing hardier specimens.
- Seeking to increase recreational opportunities and reviewing the potential for economic activities such as agroforestry.
Main sources of threat: Excessive consumption of groundwater for irrigation, presence of non-native plant species, expensive maintenance infrastructure
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