DOI: 10.3390/su16062374 ISSN: 2071-1050

Baseline Habitat Setting for Future Evaluation of Environmental Status Quality of Jabal Ali Marine Sanctuary, Dubai, UAE

Jeruel Aguhob, Waleed Hamza, Andreas Reul, Muna Musabih, Shahid Mustafa, Maria Muñoz
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

Habitat mapping plays a crucial role in assessing marine protected areas (MPA) and implementing marine spatial management approaches. This study aims to present the spatial habitat distribution of the Jabal Ali Marine Sanctuary, considering the development projects implemented in its proximity. It serves as a reference for guiding conservation management efforts. The study focuses on in situ hyperspectral measurements of the optical properties of both the water column and the substrate. Additionally, a high density of geo-referenced spot checks were conducted, serving as sample points for ecological evaluation and ground-truthing. An “object-oriented” approach was adopted to generate the seabed map in two evaluated studies conducted in 2006 and 2017. While the 2017 survey identified 16 habitats, the 2006 study characterized only 10 habitats. These habitat maps serve as powerful tools for implementing mitigation measures and providing scientific support to mitigate the negative impact on the most crucial marine habitats within the context of a protected area management framework. Furthermore, monitoring the cover of the most important habitats provides an integrative indicator to maintain the good environmental status of the marine sanctuary. Based on this study, the information will be a reference for evaluating and synergizing the management approaches implemented by both the competent authority and the different stakeholders in the sanctuary.

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