ICBA, Abu Dhabi City Municipality complete first phase of sustainable garden for halophytic plants in Abu Dhabi
The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) and the Abu Dhabi City Municipality have completed the first phase of a project to create a new sustainable garden for halophytic, or salt-loving, and salt-tolerant plants at Al Shahama, the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The garden is a result of year-long collaboration between specialists from the Abu Dhabi City Municipality and scientists from ICBA.
H.E. Eng. Salem Sultan Almemari, Acting Director General of the Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said: “We are pleased to announce the success of the first phase of the botanical garden for halophytic plants in Al-Sader Area of Al Shahama. The results of this phase are promising and there is potential for adopting this approach and experience to increase the number of pioneering environmental projects.”
He extended his thanks to ICBA represented by Dr. Tarifa Alzaabi, Director General, for support and technical assistance to successfully complete the first phase of the project. He also noted that the Abu Dhabi City Municipality is proud to be one of the leading national institutions with decades of experience in developing landscaping projects, planting millions of trees and creating green spaces.
He added: “The garden established by the municipality is the first of its kind in the region. The results inspire us to replicate this experience in many coastal areas.”
Dr. Tarifa Alzaabi, Director General of ICBA, said: “Fresh water is a scarce resource not only in the UAE but in many other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. Part of the center’s mandate is to look for alternative sources of water like saline water and treated wastewater for agriculture and landscaping. We are pleased to work with the Abu Dhabi City Municipality to create such model which takes into consideration the use of halophytic and salt-tolerant plants for landscaping irrigated by saline water. This garden can serve as a blueprint for other landscaping projects in arid and coastal environments.”
Under this collaboration, ICBA provided technical assistance and recommendations on best practices in irrigation, drainage, and cropping. The center also shared a list of halophytic and salt-tolerant plants and supplied seed of some from its genebank for cultivation.
Currently, a number of halophytic and salt-tolerant plants, including Salicornia, Atriplex, tamarind, mangrove, are grown at the garden. The garden was built using recycled and upcycled materials. The Abu Dhabi City Municipality and ICBA have worked on the project since 2021.