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Natural UAE

CLICK FOR SECTION MAP High dunes of the Liwa

The high dunes of the Liwa, almost completely devoid of vegetation, are a remarkable spectacle. Unchanged and apparently timeless, they are a far cry from the changes that have taken place in modern Abu Dhabi. Passage through the sands can only be accomplished on foot and even camels would not make a straight line traverse. Dune slipfaces, seemingly steeper than the 30 degree angle that they actually are, can exceed a vertical height of 100 metres.

Much life in the sands is nocturnal and tracks provide mute evidence of the abundance of invertebrates in particular, but also of a number of reptiles and small rodents.Even so they must eke out a slender living, with some being adapted to survive without drinking. Moisture must be obtained from prey or plant material, at the same time as it is conserved through the animal's own physiological or behavioural adaptations. Infrequent fog, particularly during the winter months, provides sufficient moisture to sustain the vegetation through the longer-lasting hotter part of the year, but even then drought may result in many individual plants succumbing.

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