Many of these forests were planted as part of the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s “Greening the Desert” programme. This was designed to improve the quality of life for those living and working in Abu Dhabi Emirate, to protect infrastructure and to create habitat for wildlife. Forestry in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is mostly irrigated using groundwater. Forests are the second largest consumer of groundwater after agriculture, using 16 % of the available ground water budget. In Abu Dhabi Emirate, groundwater is a non-renewable resource. Only around 5 % of the groundwater that is used annually is recharged through the movement of groundwater from Oman and, to a very limited extent, rainfall. At the current rates of abstraction, the emirate’s usable groundwater (fresh and brackish water) may only last for around 50 years.
Reduction of all water use in Forestry in 2016
Urban and infrastructure developments are increasingly putting enormous pressure on the sustainability of Abu Dhabi Emirate’s forest legacy.
Forests currently cover 3.5 % of the emirate. They include 20 million tree species and over 55,000 ungulates (both native and non-native). Of the forests, 79 % are classified as being in good condition.