Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Al Ain and Liwa Historical Date Palm Oases




Site location:   Al Ain and Liwa Historical Date Palm Oases – United Arab Emirates

Area of GIAHS: 350 ha for Al Ain and 70 km for Liwa

Population working for this system: -

Topological Characteristics: non fertile sandy soils

Climatic Classification: dry sub-tropical and high temperature climate

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: -

Primary Income Sources: tourism

Al Ain and Liwa historical date palm oases are part of the agricultural heritage of the country. They constitute as globally significant in-situ repositories of date palm genetic resources, and are home to ancient falaj irrigation systems, which bear testimony to human agricultural and technological ingenuity in hard environmental conditions.

The Arabian Peninsula is both a center of origin for the date palm and also historically the most important production zone for date palm, with the highest sophistication and diversity of date consumption. According to recent estimates, there are at least 200 cultivars of date palms in the UAE, of which some 70 are economically salient.

In spite of the genetically and knowledge wealth present in this region, they are nowadays threatened by the critical development of cities. Most of the products are imported and traditional irrigation systems have been replaced by pumping systems. United Arab Emirates are now trying to keep alive these treasures boosting the recognition of its oases.