With the rising global threat of food security, the importance of soil in agriculture and how soil responds to changing environments is crucial, especially in marginal environments such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). What happens underground? How this is changing? What are the impacts? These questions are worth answering and exploring.
The sandy soils that cover close to 75% of the UAE require special management practices for productive cultivation. Due to the specific desert and hot eco-environment in which they are found, UAE soils are prone to severe land degradation reducing their productive capacity. Yet, the UAE deserts are dynamic and there is a need to have a record of them. Usually soils are preserved in natural history museums but there are very few soil museums in the world and none in the Arab region.
In response to this, the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in collaboration with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, agreed on the need to establish a Soil Museum and construction was started.
In September 2016, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and ICBA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to complete the construction of the Emirates Soil Museum.
The partnership between ICBA and ADFD will help to make the Emirates Soil Museum a travel destination for a diverse range of international audiences and a unique establishment for the learning process of soil-related progression.
The goal of the museum is meant to serve as an educational hub for various visitor groups seeking soil information, as well as to raise awareness and foster appreciation and understanding about the importance of soils for national development and food security.