The island of Sadiyat lies immediately to the
north-east of Abu Dhabi island and is geologically similar, comprising
low limestone and aeolianite (fossil dune) outcrops, with a veneer of
low mobile sand dunes and extensive areas of sabkha. It is in fact a replica
of what Abu Dhabi island once resembled. Sadiyat is a barrier island facing
the Arabian Gulf, but protecting a shallow inner lagoon of considerable
complexity and ecological sensitivity.
Some mangrove is present, with the terrestrial floral community dominated by low growing salt-tolerant scrub. Large roosts of terns can occur, particularly in autumn and winter, these numbering into several thousands of individuals. The shallows are frequented by a population of Indo-pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis). The accompanying photograph shows hadra fishtraps off the north shore of Sadiyat, a simple but effective configuration of netting which catches fish as the tide ebbs.
Sadiyat is scheduled for development. Lying opposite the major port of Mina Zayed, the north-west coast has already been partially developed as an industrial zone, with plans for the creation of a Free Zone acting as an offshore centre for the commodities trade as well as finance.
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