Water turned off in Abu Dhabi desert tree experiment (photo)

Dead Forest, Richard Allenby Pratt, eco-photography, Consumption, Abu Dhabi, desert forest, dead forest in the desert, water issues, water scarcity, halophytes, desert mangrove experimentOur local photographer takes a look at what happens when trees are cut off from their water source in a “desert experiment” in the United Arab Emirates.

I previously talked about the irrigated forestry projects in the deserts of the Western Region of the UAE. This picture shows what happens when someone turns the tap off. It seems unlikely that this was a deliberate decision, considering the thousands of square kilometres that continue to be irrigated.

I suspect it is more likely there was a problem with the water supply system for a short time, or possibly even the complete failure, or salinisation, of the ground water well after excessive extraction.

It’s interesting to see the indigenous Chenopod shrubs (which are halophytic – salt tolerant) beginning to repopulate the area, possibly even benefitting a little from the shade of the planted trees. It’s a stark reminder that some species of plant have evolved over millennia to succeed, without human intervention, in this challenging environment.

Related: Massive concrete amphitheater lies disused outside of Dubai

Why people favour ill-adapted species of plant over perfectly adapted ones for their landscaping is a mystery I will never decipher. Maybe the complete ‘mastery of nature’ is still an instinctive goal of our species? Hopefully it’s one we will evolve beyond soon, before we come too close to succeeding.

You can see some of the dead forests on Google Earth at the following co-ordinates  24° 2’23.68″N  53° 1’37.94″E

Note from the editor: this photograph is part of a series called “Consumption” that seeks to document consumerism’s impact on the environment. From resource extraction and commodity production all the way down the supply chain to retail stores and waste processing facilities, Richard artfully examines what nature has come to mean in a world that depends on buying stuff.  

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