Soil survey of the Northern Emirates


Colin Pain and Mahmoud Abdelfattah
Environment Agency of the United Arab Emirates

For more information: www.uaesis.ae

Location of the Northern Emirates.

The soil survey of the Northern Emirates, United Arab Emirates (UAE) was conducted during 2010 – 2012. The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) implemented the Soil Survey through GRM International. The project was funded by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and its objective was to develop a digital soil information repository to aid in broad land-use planning and agricultural expansion in the Northern Emirates.

The survey used Geographic Information Systems, satellite image processing, and field mapping to produce a Soil Information System. Scientific and technical standards, including the soil classification system and nomenclature, were based on those of the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service. These standards have been used in other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, State of Kuwait, State of Qatar, and more recently in the Abu Dhabi soil survey project in the UAE. The project was completed at scale of 1:50,000.
A number of thematic maps, including suitability for irrigated agriculture, salinity, and current land use, were generated as part of the project. The Abu Dhabi Soils Information System (ADSIS) was expanded and enhanced and renamed to United Arab Emirates Soils Information System (UAESIS), to assist in the storage, processing, retrieval, and management of the national soil-related information.

Information from the soil survey is expected to be used by various groups, including the agricultural farming community, decision makers, land-use planners, officials, engineers, and environmental impact assessors. Conservationists and specialists in recreation, wildlife management, waste disposal, and pollution control will also use the soil information to help understand, protect and enhance the environment.
The report and maps provide a detailed assessment and account of soil in the Northern Emirates and are a fitting accompaniment to the Soil Survey of the Abu Dhabi Emirate.
Finally, the project produced a national soil map of the United Arab Emirates, by compiling results from this survey, the soil survey of Abu Dhabi completed in 2010, and the soil map of Dubai developed in 2003.

Hilsan Series

Hisan Series

Gypsic Haplosalids, sandy, carbonatic, hyperthermic

The Hisan series is a very deep soil formed in sandy, or sandy and loamy, marine deposits. It is deep or very deep to a water table.

Sharjah Series

Sharjah Series

Typic Torripsamments, carbonatic, hyperthermic

The Sharjah series is a very deep soil formed in eolian sands.

Fujairah Series.

Fujairah Series (NE002)

Typic Torriorthents, fragmental, mixed, hyperthermic

The Fujairah series is a very deep soil formed in alluvial deposits that are nearly all gravel, cobble, and stones, with less than 10% sand or finer size particles.

Al Ain Series.

Al Ain Series (NE003)

Typic Torriorthents, sandy-skeletal, mixed, hyperthermic

Differentiating Criteria: ESP<15; <15% cobles/stones

The Al Ain series is a very deep soil formed in gravelly alluvial deposits.

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About Antonio

I am a Biologist (BS in 1996) and PhD in Soil Science (2000), and work teaching and researching at the University of Sevilla (Spain). My on-going work includes the study of soil degradation processes in Mediterranean areas, soil erosion and the impact of wildfires on soils.
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