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Ecosystems as Commodity Frontiers—Challenges Faced by Land Set Aside as Protected Areas (PAs) in the Dubai Emirate, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

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Abstract

This chapter examines natural habitats in Dubai, UAE that the state has demarcated as protected areas (PAs) in an attempt to utilize them for recreational/economic purposes while also mitigating habitat fragmentation. The authors employ the concept of the ‘commodity frontier’ to demonstrate how these PAs have contributed to the ongoing commodification of land that began with the rise of modern agriculture in the mid-twentieth century. The rise of the oil economy in the mid-twentieth century stimulated significant development that, over time, has resulted in ecological degradation. In line with state conservation agendas aimed at greening the desert and preserving biodiversity, PAs also serve as a mechanism for promoting tourism. Ironically, these activities have in turn put further pressure on the country’s natural resources and desert ecology. The authors also present an example of a PA that has been effectively managed and could serve as a model of sustainable development.

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... The encroachment to sea area needs to be stopped so that the life below the water can be protected and the goal can be achieved. Similarly, Howarth et al., (2019) in their study on the challenges faced by land set aside as protected areas noted that the intent to protect is interpreted in a variety of conflicting ways by stakeholders, specifically those that intend to pursue wealth accumulation through projects within the protected areas that do not enhance the conservation aspects, but also by a variety of interpretations of the intent of the protective areas protective status. For instance, the project started in the name of the "Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve" also includes the cultural, sports and sports events, lakes, and plant nursery (The national, 2018). ...
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