Arid rangeland degradation in an oil-rich gulf state; Inertia of perceived heritage and pro-agricultural policies

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Horizons in Earth Science Research. Vol. 1


© 2010 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. Over the last 35 years land management and farmer lifestyles have changed dramatically on the rangelands of the United Arab Emirates. The human relationship with rangelands has moved from subsistence to a secondary income or hobby. Both ecological health and indigenous knowledge of rangelands are in decline. Large areas of the inland desert of the country are rapidly becoming urbanized. This paper reviews threats to the 225 km2 Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR). Inland desert rangelands are threatened by groundwater depletion, habitat fragmentation, exotic species introductions and overgrazing. The paper argues that overgrazing is currently the most serious threat to the inland desert, reducing range species diversity, production and available forage. Reduction of stocking rates requires a revision of pro-agricultural policies and resolving the legal ambiguity surrounding common grazing lands. It can be reasonably expected that environmental attitudes will shift from anthropocentric to ecocentric over time, but a shift in cultural heritage perceptions may also be needed to reassert a balanced approach to rangeland management.

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['9781611223378', '9781607412212']

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

David J. Gallacher, Zayed University

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