The sabkha vegetation of the United Arab Emirates
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), sabkhat are found mainly in Abu Dhabi irate, and they occur along 300 km of coastal plain, as well as inland on interdunal plains. Sabkhat proper are largely devoid of vegetation except where there is a thin surface covering of aeolian sand. However, the margins may support a dense cover of mainly halophytic dwarf shrubs. This study describes in brief the salient features of the flora, including plant adaptations to highly saline environments, and gives an overview of the main vegetation types associated with sabkhat in the country. Chenopodiaceae are best represented in terms of species number, but the Zygophyllaceae also play a prominent role in the vegetation cover. Coastal sabkhat in particular are under severe threat from reclamation and development, and there is an urgent need to document the vegetation associated with sabkhat and coastal environments, as well as to establish representative protected areas before irreparable damage is caused to these valuable ecosystems.
KeywordsUnited Arab Emirate Arabian Peninsula Aeolian Sand Sand Sheet Coastal Sabkha
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