Planted forests

United Arab Emirates

Description of plantation resources


The United Arab Emirates lies on the Arabian Gulf.

Development of forest plantations

Forest plantations started in the United Arab Emirates more than 40 years ago. After the union of the Emirates, plantation activity increased. The forestry departments in the municipalities and the Central Forestry Department in Al-Ain carry out the afforestation programs using indigenous and exotic trees and shrubs. By 1999 the planted area was 313 582 ha distributed as follows: 309 636 ha in Abu Dhabi, 1 400 in Dubai, 71.5 ha in Sharjah, 185 in Ajman, 19.2 ha in Ras Al-Khaimah. 2 200 ha in Umm Alquiwain and 70 ha in Fujairah.

Species composition

The forest tree species and shrubs used in the afforestation programs are Prosopis spicigera, Acacia radiana, Zizyphus spina-christi, Acacia tortillis, Salvadora persica, Acacia arabica, Acacia syanophylla, Eucalyptus camadulensis, Prosopis spp., Azadirachta indica, Cassia italica, Atriplex spp., Calligonum comoum, Leptadinia pyrotechnica, Tamarix articulata and Calotropis procera. The Cental Department of Forestry carries out experiments to introduce new species that prove to be adapted to local ecological conditions. Some species shown to grow well include Simmondsia chinesnsis, Acacia victoria, Concocarpus lanceolatus and some other tree species.


The afforestation policy of the United Arab Emirates aims to expand the afforestation projects, establish greenbelts to stop desert encroachment and sand dune movement and protect agriculture lands, settlements and highways. To achieve this, the country provides assistance to afforestation projects such as equipment and construction of buildings. Usually a small nursery is established in the project area to provide the needed seedlings.


Forest plantation activities started in the United Arab Emirates more than 40 years ago to stop desert encroachment and movement of mobile sand dunes and to protect agricultural lands and urban areas from sandstorms. Due to the scarcity of water and the small amount of annual rainfall (about 120 mm and sometimes less than 25 mm in some areas) a secure source of irrigation water is necessary to establish plantations. In most cases, the source of irrigation water is wells that are dug in the project area at the rate of a well for each 25 ha planted. The amount of irrigation water available is the main constraint in establishing plantations due to the insufficient amount and high salinity of ground water.


Abudulla Rashed Al-Moalla. 1999. The present situation of forest resources in U.A.E. Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Statistics Unit.

last updated:  Tuesday, February 23, 2010