The Abu Dhabi Soil Survey started in 2006. It is a collaboration between the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture and GRM International, an Australian company, hired to do field work. The survey's scientists studied a strip about 400 kilometres long and seven to 10 kilometres wide to identify and map the different types of soils in the emirate.
In total, 13 different types of soil were identified, including a new types of soil unique to the UAE. This new variety of soil is rich in anhydrite, also known as calcium sulphate. The survey collected more than 2,300 soil samples, which are now stored in the Abu Dhabi Soil Sampling Archive. The team also created more than 20 thematic maps based on soil type, salinity, and the availability of resources such as gypsum, gravel and sand.
The project also came up with maps showing the land degradation and the availability of arable land. A total of 400,000 hectares were studied between November 2007 and December 2008. Of that, a little more than 200,000 hectares were deemed suitable to support agriculture. Currently, farms cover 77,000 hectares of land. * The National