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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United Arab Emirates


  General Description   The site includes numerous islands and a coastline stretching over 120 km, comprises several important representatives habitats with national and regional significance. These habitats include sea grass beds (3 species), coral reef communities (more than 18 species), macroalgae outcrops (more than 15 species) and mangrove vegetation (monostands of Avicennia marina). Marawah Biosphere reserve is also of global importance as a shelter and feeding ground for the vulnerable Dugongs (Dugong dugon). The recorded population of the dugongs is the second largest aggregation in the world. The area provides crucial nursery and spawning grounds for a wide variety of fish species and is regionally important as a foraging habitat for the critically endangered Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the endangered Green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Furthermore, the islands inside the protected area provide important nesting sites for Hawksbill sea turtles and a number of migratory birds including about 5% of the world population of the vulnerable Socotra Cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis).

Most of the islands are inhibited with a very low density of local population. In addition to these inhibited Islands, the coastal area is also target of low density population concentrated in 4 aggregations, namely Tareef, Radeem, Mirfaa and Themeiria. The biosphere reserve is the sole source of daily subsistence of marine protein of the most local population. They practice traditional fishing using controlled non-destructive fishing gear. The area is also of significance culturally and archeologically with more than 20 sites recorded on various islands dating back to the 16th century.
  Major ecosystem type   marine ecosystems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Seagrasses, Coral Reefs, Mangroves, Sabkhas and coastal wetlands
  Location   The central coordinate is: N 24.44281 and E 53.23794
  Area (hectares)    
  Core area(s)   Terrestrial Core Area(s): 500 ha; Marine Core Area(s); 60 500 ha.
  Buffer zone(s)   Terrestrial Buffer Zone(s): 29500 ha; Marine Buffer Zone(s); 335000 ha.
  Transition area(s) when given   Transition Area(s): 30000 ha; Marine Transition Area(s); 90000 ha.
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   Highest elevation above sea level: +20m Lowest elevation above sea level: -5m Maximum depth below mean sea level: -25m
  Year designated   2007
  Administrative authorities   Environment Agency Abu Dhabi
  Brief description   The past and planned research and monitoring programme were designed to collect baseline data, inventory of habitats and species, describe major threats and mitigation strategy, and to monitor performance of applying the management plans to maintain the area in good conditions. Research has been implemented in the field of geology and archeology of Marawah island and the coastal part. Different surveys and monitoring projects have been implemented in the biosphere reserve and adjacent areas since 1995. These surveys include: coral reefs, seagrasses, cetaceans, marine turtles, and mollusks. On-going biotic research and monitoring on Marawah MPA includes nesting areas of marine turtles, Dugong, mangrove, harmful algal bloom, fish eggs and larvae survey, fish stock assessment and experimental artificial reef. The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi has implemented a focused socioeconomic survey for the area where all information related to human activities in the area were registered and evaluated.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, air temperature, geology, habitat, hydrology.
  Biodiversity   Biodiversity, biology, birds, breeding/reproduction, coastal/marine, conservation, coral reefs, endemic species, fauna, fishes, flora, island systems/islands, mangrove, rare/endangered/threatened species.
  Socio-economic   Archaeology/Paleontology, capacity building, cultural aspects, demography, fishery/fisheries, social/socio-economic aspects, tourism.
  Integrated monitoring   Education and public awareness, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, management issues, planning and zoning measures/zonation, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address    
Environment Agency Abu Dhabi
P.O. Box: 45553
 Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
  Telephone   971 2 681717
  Fax   971 2 6810008

Last updated: 26/11/2007

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