Landscaping with native plants in the UAE: A review
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a unique experience in greening the desert. Huge efforts have been done to create green spaces across the country including afforestation and urban landscaping. Most of the landscaping designs were inspired from western landscapes comprises mostly of exotic species, which do not reconcile with the environmental conditions of the UAE. The intensive use of exotic species in artificial vegetation, high water requirements for the UAE greenery, coupled with water shortages and salinity, are causing major environmental and ecological challenges. Fortunately, the UAE hosts a unique flora and fauna that show remarkable adjustment to harsh weather conditions. Here we emphasize the use of native plants due to their potential to develop landscapes in saline and water shortage conditions, leading to reduced water usage for landscaping. The preservation of native biodiversity of the UAE will be an added benefit. In this article the main aspects of the UAE landscaping efforts, with the associated water resources using native plants in landscaping, problems in promoting native plants in landscaping and possible solutions are discussed.
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