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Maha Abdel Karim

Mr. Mangan
IB1 Environmental Sciences
12 May 2016

Research Skills- Threats to tropical biomes

One local example of a natural area of biological significance are the wetlands in the United
Arab Emirates. According to a news article on The National, four of the countrys six most
important wetlands are currently facing pressure from coastal development. It is mentioned that
they UAE should give a protected status to wetlands and provide carefully public access to them
to preserve the nation's waterbirds. According to this article, The Environment Agency - Abu
Dhabi (Ead) released the report after the national annual waterbirds census was carried out by 23
experts from government and non-government organisations in mid-January. The economic
pressures that are causing this problem include, as mentioned in the article, development such
as dredging, reclamation and other industrial and urban activities that can harm bird habitats.
The possible impacts on biodiversity could include the four most threatened important waterbird
areas were: Bul Sayeef in Abu Dhabi; Ras al Khor in Dubai; Khor al Beidah in Umm al Qaiwain;
and Khor al Khawair in Ras al Khaimah. Furthermore, it is mentioned in the article that breeding
birds in particular such as the greater flamingo and the western reef heron, are most likely to be
affected by development. For example, in Abu Dhabi, the Bul Sayeef Marine Protected Area is
very important for wintering birds, which use it to rest and feed while migrating from Europe to
Africa. Scientists discovered that this area was also home to a colony of flamingos, with 18,000
birds counted at the time. Furthermore, these wetlands are also vital nursing grounds for many

fish species, including some of commercial importance. Additionally, Khor al Beidah and Khor
al Khawair are under threat from encroaching urban development. They are important wintering
sites for crab plovers (wading birds), which UAE has the third-largest population of in the world.
The article suggests that such areas can remain protected if they are shared with the public and
have high exposure (without any damaging) as this way people will get to know what goes on in
wetlands and why we need to protect them. According to Dr. Tourenq, all wetlands in the UAE
are connected and all have a function at a different stage of the life of the birds. If one
wetland disappears, an important piece of the puzzle is gone".

Source: http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/environment/wetlands-protection-warningsounded