Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) conducted a soil survey in the Nothern Emirates to determine the potential of soil for agriculture and engineering purposes. Courtesy Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD)
The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) conducted a soil survey in the Nothern Emirates to determine the potential of soil for agriculture and engineering purposes. Courtesy Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD)

Ras al Khaimah comes out top in soil survey

The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) has identified the best soil in the Northern Emirates and RAK came out top.

ABU DHABI // A two-year soil survey of the Northern Emirates has identified 28 soil types, with Ras Al Khaimah having some of the soils best suited to agriculture.
The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water, recently released the results of the survey.
Funded by the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, the survey will create a database of soil types that will aid in land-use planning and agricultural expansion in the Northern Emirates. Officials said the results would help farmers, planners and developers to better evaluate the potential of soil for agriculture and engineering purposes.
“Soils in the UAE are not just sand,” said Darryl Lew, executive director of the environment quality sector at EAD. “Many of the soils are suitable for agriculture, construction and aggregates.”
The survey covered Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, which together make up 8.2 per cent of the country’s area. The survey analysed soil at 10,000 sites between 500 metres and 1,000 metres apart, up to a depth of 200 centimetres.
“Soil and water are critical resources and it is amplified today when we talk about food and water security,” Mr Lew said. “The soil survey of the Northern Emirates is a first very accurate and robust inventory of one of the leading natural resources.”

Information from the survey can be used by the farming community, decision makers, land-use planners, officials, engineers and environmental-impact assessors.

The area surveyed covered 401,283 hectares across the five emirates.

“We did not map mountain tops and urbanised areas,” Mr Lew said. “We mapped vegetation and found that 40 per cent of the Northern Emirates is covered in natural vegetation.”

The survey was completed using the norms and standards of the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, modified to fit the conditions of the Northern Emirates. The project also produced a soil map of the UAE by compiling results from this survey, the 2010 Abu Dhabi soil survey and the soil map of Dubai developed in 2003.

A total of 65,000 sites were classified and added to the database of results. Various thematic maps, such as irrigated suitability, soil salinity, current land use, land degradation and vegetation are also included.

“Our environment, being in an arid zone, faces many challenges,” said Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, secretary general of EAD.

“Of these, the degradation of our land and natural resources poses the biggest threat to a sustainable environment. Mitigating this threat requires knowledge of our soils.”

In total, 89 soil types were identified in Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates. About 13 per cent are suitable for irrigated agriculture, according to Dr Mahmoud Ali Abdelfattah, a scientist at the EAD and a member of the technical committee who worked on the survey.

The survey used geographic information systems, satellite image processing and field-mapping technology to produce a soil information system. It is internet-based and accessible via the EAD website www.ead.ae or the UAE Soil Information System www.uaesis.ae

UAE University, University of Sharjah and the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture – as well as institutions from the US, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand – contributed to the survey.

rruiz@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 A model of the plans for Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District, which was on display at the Global Cityscape exhibition at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre last year. Ali Haider / EPA

Building the future on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island

Nick Leech meets Jassim Al Hammadi, the engineer charged with providing the services that will make the Saadiyat Cultural District tick.

 Business class seats inside the Emirates Airbus A380. Chip East / Reuters

In it for the long haul: flying 16 hours with Emirates to LA

Our executive travel reviewer tries out the business class offering on Emirates' longest A380 route - and finds time passing quickly.

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 From left: Alex Ritman, his favorite waiter and friend Andy Tillett at Baithal Ravi in 2009. Courtesy Alex Ritman

Lamenting Bur Dubai’s Baithal Ravi Restaurant

When I heard that a fire had ripped through the restaurant known as Ravis in the Bur Dubai district of Dubai, my outburst was met with echoed monosyllabic despair among numerous friends on social media.

 Screen shot from Vin Deisel's facebook page of he and Michelle Rodriguez in Abu Dhabi for the filming of Fast & Furious 7. April 2014

Fast & Furious in Abu Dhabi, a social media frenzy

Fast & Furious 7 wraps up an eventful and much-anticipated week of filming in the capital. Let's take a look at what went on via the key players' social media, while they were enjoying the delights of the desert.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National