Dubai has formally declared six new natural reserves in an attempt to improve the environment, while also boosting eco-tourism.
The reservation sites - Jabal Nazwa reserve, Al Marmoum desert reserve, Al Wuhush desert reserve and Al Ghaf reserve, Hatta mountain reserve and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) - will all now be maintained and managed by the Dubai municipality.
According to Hussain Lootah, director general of the municipality, the sites have been established to protect and conserve natural wildlife, including plants such as samar and ghaf, which flourish in desert environments.
Gregory Simkins, the conservation manager of the DDCR, said a law introduced in 2003 established the nature reserved but the new decree determines the physical boundaries of the sites.
He said: “There was a law set up about how to establish protected areas in the Dubai emirate, so was set up according to that law. How it was established is correct, but the actual boundaries were not written into law – it was not area specific.
“It is more of a phenomenon in this part of the world where reserves get announced but not necessarily written into law with regards to their boundaries.”
The conservation manager said the move will be beneficial to the environment and believes the new law will help Dubai secure its future. The director general of the municipality claims it will do far more, like boosting eco-tourism to the emirate. The DDCR is already proof of the attractiveness of such sites as it is home to a luxury desert resort and spa.
Mr Lootah said the UAE has already moved up the global environment performance index from 152 in 2010 to 77 in 2012. The new reserves will only help push the country further up the rankings.
The country scored highly in three areas in particular - forestry, indoor air quality and access to water. Since then, more has been done to protect endangered species and wildlife.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, vice president and ruler of Dubai formally declared the establishment of the six reserves yesterday (May 29th).