UAE: A five-year soil study in Abu Dhabi has found 400,000 hectares of potential agricultural land on the emirate’s mainland, which covers 5.7 million hectares. Dr Ahmed Al Masoum, Deputy Director-General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), said, “The survey was the first of its kind in the emirate and covered all areas. Maps on current land use, vegetation and salinity were produced as well as detailed suitability maps for irrigated agriculture. The soil was mapped and classified using the latest satellite images and standards of the US Department of Agriculture.”
The study took place through a partnership between the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the ICBA, GRM International Australia and many other supporting organisations within UAE and abroad.
The study included two kinds of soil surveys – one that provided information for understanding the characteristics of different soil types in Abu Dhabi, and another intensive soil survey focusing on land that was promising for agriculture.
The survey initially found a unique soil type a few tens of kilometres inland from Abu Dhabi’s coastline, which compelled the emirate to widen the survey’s coverage to include the whole emirate, resulting in the identification of the 400,000 hectares as the most suitable agricultural land in all of Al Ain, Madinat Zayed, Ghayathi and Sila areas. Also, the survey helped in creating an integrated ‘Abu Dhabi Soil Information System’ to include 2,300 soil samples stored for future use, the study said.
“Large subsamples of 2,300 soil samples were also stored in the project database. These samples are a valuable resource for future studies and will allow specialists access to a comprehensive set of soils,” the report said.
Source: Emirates Business 24|7