Did you Know?
  • The Giant Long-horned Beetle (Anthracocentrus arabicus)is one of the largest beetles in the world at 11 centimetres and can be found in the natural Ghaf forest on the DDCR

Preservation of natural and cultural heritage on Dubai arid
rangelands amid changing farmer lifestyles

Dr David J. Gallacher, Zayed University, PO Box 19282, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Manuscript of poster presentation for International Scientific Conference The Future of Drylands Tunis, Tunisia, 19 to 21 June 2006

Plant biomass of arid rangelands within the United Arab Emirates has been reduced by excessive grazing, and probably also by groundwater extraction. The reduction of annual plant biomass production is severe but reversible. It has caused population decline of native herbivores and carnivores, and has also reduced rangeland carrying capacity for livestock.  Rangeland use by farmers has changed dramatically since the early 1980s due to increasing wealth and government policies to house and employ Bedu.  In this study, nine farmers within the 225 km2 Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve were interviewed by telephone to assess their knowledge of the desert ecosystem, their attitudes toward conservation, and their current farming methods.  Several farmers exhibited a sound knowledge of up to 100 species of plants and animals, but a poor understanding of rangeland management and the consequences of high stocking rates.  Most had moved to the area after 1971, and had substantially increased their livestock numbers over the previous decade.  This study highlights the need for improved awareness of rangeland sustainability, and indicates that farms could be relocated from the Reserve while maintaining both farmers' rights and their lifestyles.