Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wind, Salt, and Water Are Leading Indicators of Land Degradation in Abu Dhabi

08.05.2009
The desert lands of Abu Dhabi are subjected to various land degradation stresses, including wind erosion, salinization, waterlogging, landfilling, and overgrazing. Sustaining these lands has become an urgent matter, a recent article in Soil Survey Horizons suggests better conservation strategies and management options.

Desert environments are characterized by poor vegetative cover, strong winds, dry, non-cohesive sandy soils, and hyper-arid conditions.

In this context, the land resources of Abu Dhabi Emirate in the United Arab Emirates are subjected to various land degradation stresses, including wind erosion, salinization, waterlogging, landfilling, and overgrazing. To sustain the land resources of Abu Dhabi Emirate, land degradation is a matter of urgency and must be accorded greater significance on the environmental agenda.

Mahmoud Ali Abdelfattah, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, studied representative samples from degraded soils and analyzed them for selected parameters relevant to specific indicators. He characterizes the major land degradation indicators in Abu Dhabi Emirate and suggests better conservation strategies and management options in a recent article in Soil Survey Horizons.

The study found that, among natural forces of land degradation, wind has a major role in moving soil from loose surfaces, and mainly in dune areas. Wind is the main cause of irreversible land degradation in the arid environment of Abu Dhabi. Wind erosion indicators are formation of fall dunes, blocking of highways, dust storms, nebkha features, reduction of waterways capacity due to deposition of sand, exposure of hardpans at the surface, and gravel lag. Nebkha dunes, formed from sediment accumulations around shrubs, have been considered a reliable indicator of rapid dryland degradation. As a preventive action, afforestation has been practiced on about 330,000 ha in Abu Dhabi Emirate. In addition, many green belts in urban areas and along roads have been established. Forestry plantations are an important effort in combating wind erosion and offer multiple benefits, such as hydrological balance, enhancement of environmental quality, habitat restoration, and improved aesthetic value.

Soil salinity is also a threat to agricultural farms and coastal areas. Due to the prevailing hyper-arid conditions in Abu Dhabi Emirate, the soil receives inadequate precipitation to effectively leach salts from the soil profile. Irrigation water is the primary source of salts. The suggested prerequisite research for this problem in Abu Dhabi Emirate includes characterization, mapping, and monitoring of salt-affected soils, as well as work to better understand the sources of salts, proper leaching requirements and efficient drainage systems, how to ensure good quality irrigation water, and optimal crops.

The study also identified waterlogging as a serious problem in many of the agricultural farms. The causes of waterlogging are poor drainage conditions due to the presence of hardpans, excessive use of irrigation water, and seawater intrusion. Landfilling for urban development and construction purposes is another unique land degradation feature in the Emirate. A traditional landfilling practice commonly used in Abu Dhabi Emirate is to bring material from the desert area and dump it into the saline areas. This practice is being applied for landscaping as well as agricultural purposes and is often performed in areas close to cities, around roads, palaces, farms, gardens, parks, etc. However, this excavation harms the areas from which the soil is removed, sometimes resulting in stagnation of water. Other land degradation types presented and discussed are loss of vegetation, water erosion in uplands, compaction, sealing, crusting, and mining. The author recommends that an emirate-wide action plan needs to be developed and implemented to manage and combat all types of degradation.

The study was also presented at the International Conference on Soil Degradation, Riga, Latvia 17-19 February 2009. The study was part of the ongoing research on the soil inventory of Abu Dhabi Emirate that commenced in 2002 and is funded by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.

This featured article of SSH is available for free access at https://www.soils.org/files/publications/soil-survey-feature-spring-2009.pdf until the next quarterly issue.

Soil Survey Horizons, https://www.soils.org/soil_survey_horizons/, is a medium for expressing ideas, problems, and philosophies concerning the study of soils in the field. Articles include research updates, soil news, history of soil survey, and personal essays from the lives of soil scientists. Soil Survey Horizons is published by the Soil Science Society of America.

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.

SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. For more information, visit www.soils.org.

SSSA is the founding sponsor of an approximately 5,000-square foot exhibition, Dig It! The Secrets of Soil, which opened July 19, 2008 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.crops.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>