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A Natural History of the Emirates: Explore UAE’s diverse ecosystems

Sat 03 Feb 2024    
| 2 min read

Abu Dhabi: NYU Abu Dhabi’s Associate Professor of Biology, John Burt, has taken a groundbreaking step by editing and releasing a unique open-access book called “A Natural History of the Emirates.” The book, a collaborative effort with over 20 authors from esteemed institutions like Emirates Nature-WWF and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, offers a detailed look at the distinctive environmental features of the UAE.

Professor Burt emphasizes the importance of understanding the UAE’s nature and natural history alongside its rapid modernization. The book, available to the public for free, serves as a valuable resource for students, educators, and the community, shedding light on the intricate relationship between humans and the environment.

The book is divided into sections, with the first focusing on the physical aspects such as geography, geology, and climate. The second section explores the major ecosystems, including mountains, mangrove forests, seagrasses, coastal lagoons, oyster beds, and coral reefs. The third section delves into the diverse flora and fauna, showcasing the surprising variety of species thriving in the UAE’s extreme conditions. From vascular flora to birds, terrestrial mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, marine mammals, reptiles, and fishes—all are discussed.

The final section examines human interactions with the environment in a rapidly developing nation, discussing changes over time and proposing initiatives for future conservation. The book concludes with a forward-looking chapter envisioning the state of nature in the UAE by 2050, urging decision-makers to take bold steps for conservation.

Professor Burt hopes the book will contribute to enhanced conservation efforts, emphasizing the need for sustainable development. The open-access nature of the digital copies ensures that financial barriers to learning are eliminated, making this comprehensive resource accessible to all. The goal is for readers to gain a deeper appreciation for the UAE’s nature and its crucial role in the country’s identity and future.

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