New desert conservation project covers more than 10% of Dubai’s entire area
UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has officially launched the Marmoom Reserve project, the largest sustainable environment, tourism and recreational project in the UAE.
Located on the outskirts of Dubai and covering 10% of the emirate’s entire area, the government hopes the massive project will become one of the most important desert reserves in the UAE and the region, home to eclectic and diverse wildlife and a key destination for eco-tourism and adventure-focused sporting pursuits.
The reserve will provide shelter for a wide variety of endangered animals and birds, combining education, environmental awareness, tourism and leisure.
Speaking at the launch, HH Sheikh Mohammed said: “Preserving and investing in the environment means preserving and investing in one of our most important assets. The Marmoom Reserve is an environmental, touristic and sporting addition to life in the UAE.”
The reserve is home to more than 204 species of native birds, 158 species of migratory birds, and more than 10km of lakes, encompassing the Al Qudra Lakes.
It is also home to 26 species of reptiles, nine mammal species, and 39 species of plants while providing a sanctuary for 19 species of endangered animals and birds.
The reserve also has the highest concentration of large flamingos in a desert region in the country, with up to 500 birds.
The area is also location of the 3,000-year-old Saruq Al Hadid archaeological site.
Several viewing platforms will be erected across the reserve, enabling visitors to view the local wildlife including birdlife and Arabian gazelles. The observation decks will be built in the shape of Arabian Oryx heads.
Several platforms will be erected in order to provide a space for meditation and relaxation. A shaded yoga practice hall will be built as will an air-conditioned yoga lounge, providing spectacular views of the surrounding desert. Another multi-level outdoor podium for yoga will be constructed, allowing visitors to practice outside amidst the desert environment.
For astronomy enthusiasts, five observation decks will be built in remote locations enabling clear views of the skies without the issue of light pollution.
The reserve will also be an incubator for the largest plant nursery in the UAE, covering an area of 40 hectares. The nursery will serve as a training and educational centre for school and university students, researchers and academics in the field.
The reserve will host more than 20 annual sporting events, which are expected to attract more than 20,000 people annually. Highlights will include the Dubai International Cycling Tour, organised by the Dubai Sports Council, and the Sandstorm Marmoom Challenge.
A 350-seat outdoor theatre will be built onsite that will host a variety of musical and artistic performances.
Meanwhile, the Marmoom Biosphere Centre will focus on sustainable development and management of the protected area. It will serve as a centre for sustainable ecotourism, and will seek to be the main source of specialised ecosystem management practices in the UAE and across the region.
The nearby Mohamed bin Rashid Solar Power Complex will be connected to the protected area, providing clean energy to conserve the environment and promote sustainable development.
Other eco-friendly initiatives installed onsite will include Green Charger stations for electric vehicles. State-of-the-art Smart Meter technology will also be available in the reserve, which will include advanced features that contribute to an intelligent and environmentally friendly lifestyle.