Khors, Lagoons, Mangrove Forests in UAE

On my way to work, every day I pass through 4 islands. Yas , Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi main island & finally Sowwah island (later renamed as Al Maryah Island). Rarely you get such a scenic journey on your way to office. All I see everyday is picture perfect clear skies, blue sea, mangroves, trees, bushes, birds and beautiful islands.

UAE is blessed with number of mangroves, marshlands along it’s coast but unfortunately now most of mangroves are under development. In recent years Environmental impact assessment is done & environmental management plant is implemented while developing near the natural reserves. They also create a new habitat for ecosystem as compensation. Some of the mangroves are protected officially. Still question remains developing natural resources is good or bad?

Some typical arguments in UAE, that it is a desert & development creates new habitats. In some case it is very true. Specially the newly developed communities in the dessert of Dubai are lush green round the year, where there was only sun & sand previously.

Mangrove Benefits


In the dessert of UAE, Mangroves are most bio-diverse natural systems. The migrating birds take their halt in theses mangroves during winter. It’s a breeding or cultivating ground for marine life like fish, crabs. It is a natural habitat of spawning for large no. of fish. You can click this post to read my experience of planting mangroves at EMEG Reserve while planting mangroves while learning about this unique Eco-system

Mangroves can protect the land from high tide and tsunami. They basically increase capability to resist effects of cyclone & tidal waves. Traditionally the timber from trees and shrubs in mangroves were used for fire wood, housing material, charcoal, fishing material etc. Leaves from trees & shrubs are always good food for animals. This is not all, mangroves also act as carbon sink!


Guide to UAE’s Mangroves


In UAE 50 sq Km area is covered by mangroves. Many exclusive species in theses mangroves are on the way to extinction. Here are important mangrove colonies near shore islands and lagoons in UAE,


On west coast of UAE,
1. Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. You can visit this sanctuary to see famous flemingoes of Dubai from bird watching hide. 

2. EMEG Reserve at Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary

3. Many mangroves around Abu Dhabi main land & islands like Sadiyat, Yas Islands. One of the most popular is Eastern Mangrove Lagoon National Park, where you can also enjoy kayaking without disturbing the natural system and see the beauty up close. Read my experience of kayaking.

Kayaking in Eastern Mangrove, Abu Dhabi

4. Ras al khaima- Rabanal, Beushell
5. Umm Al Quwain- Khor al Beidah

5. Khor Kalba- Only mangrove on East Coast of UAE, part of Sharjah.

Khor Kalba

At khor Kalba you can go for kayaking. It is also a popular place for barbecue, picnic or camping but I found lot of litter and even cleaned up some part. When you are enjoying these unique and sensitive natural systems of UAE, please be careful. Leave nothing but footprints!

While writing this article I remembered last year I watched documentary film “Marshes and Mangroves” by Animal Planet screening arranged by WWF-EWS. The documentary is focused on mangroves, marshes and wet land areas in world, rich biodiversity found there & how climate change is threatening these mangroves & their habitats. Do not miss to watch this documentary if you get a chance.

With vanishing mangroves the biodiversity is also vanishing. The mangroves are UAE’s most significant biological ecosystems and we all need to protect it!

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2 Comments on "Khors, Lagoons, Mangrove Forests in UAE"

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really nice

A lot needs to be done for Mangrove conservation and coverage agea enhancements in the UAE, current efforts looks more like lip service. Partha – Dubai


Meet Amruta

Hi, I am Amruta, Thank you for visiting my blog!

I am a Sustainability Professional. I have worked on many green building projects in the


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