Al Marmoom Desert

Year of compilation: 2017

Site description
The Marmoom Reserve project covers more than 10% of Dubai's land area. It will be the first unfenced desert conservation reserve in the country and will host more than 20 environmental, cultural and sports initiatives.

The reserve includes more than 40 hectares of shrubland and 10 km2 of artificial lakes (Al Qudra Lakes).

The new project will include 10 animal and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observations decks, areas for yoga, an outdoor theatre and will be powered by a 5,000 megawatt solar power complex.

The Saruq Al Hadid archaeological site, which dates back more than 3,000 years to the Iron Age, can also be found at the reserve.

Key biodiversity
Al Marmoom is home to more than 204 species of native birds, 158 species of migratory birds, 26 species of reptiles, nine mammal species, and 39 species of plants. It provides a sanctuary for 19 species of endangered animals and birds and houses between 300 to 500 large flamingos - the highest concentration in a desert region in the country.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The largest plant nursery in the UAE will preserve and protect local plant species and serve as a training and educational centre for school and university students, researchers and academics.

The Marmoom Biosphere Centre will mainly be dedicated to studying the sustainable development and management of the protected area. It will serve as a centre for sustainable ecotourism, and aim to be the main source of specialized ecosystem management practices in the region.

The Marmoom Reserve Protection Scouts will aim to develop young people’s outdoor skills and foster the spirit of connecting with the natural environment. The ultimate goal for the scout programme is to enhance conservation, wildlife and desert protection, and to instil positive values in children.

Habitat and land use
Sand sheets and dunes with shrub cover; Sand sheets and dunes with dwarf shrub cover; Sand sheets and dunes with perennial herbs and graminoids; Gravel plains with distinct tree vegetation; Gravel plains with shrub vegetation; Gravel plains with sparse vegetation; Inland sabkha; Artificial lakes.

Land ownership
Dubai Municipality.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Al Marmoom Desert. Downloaded from on 24/01/2021.