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By: Amer Rghei James Gordon Nelson

Amid Shifting Sands

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The United Arab Emirates are renowned for their enormous production of oil and the rise of great cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which attract millions of tourists annually. It is as if the great aridity of the country did not exist. Yet the UAE is essentially a vast desert, thinly peopled for thousands of years by nomads, grazing sheep, camels and growing a few crops in great oases like Al Ain and Liwa. Early people used spears and falcons to hunt rich populations of oryx, gazelle, ibex, and the iconic migratory bird, the houbara. These animals were decimated by the introduction of European vehicles and guns in the 1920s, and later by the oil boom in the 1950s and 1960s. Today the desert is virtually devoid of these wild animals. This and many other fascinating little-known highlights of the complex history of the lands now known as the UAE are revealed in this book.

Gordon Nelson is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo, Canada. He has undertaken research, consulting, teaching, and administrative work in many parts of Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. He has published numerous books, monographs, and articles in the broad fields of geography, human ecology and planning. He lived in Dubai for nearly a year in 2009-10 and has returned to the United Arab Emirates frequently since. He has received awards from organizations such as the Canadian government, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

Professor Amer Rghei has a PH.D., The University of Waterloo, and a M.Arch., McGill University, Canada. He has lived, taught and done research in architecture, interior design, and environmental planning at a number of universities in United Arab Emirates and other countries for close to twenty years. His research and educational work has taken him to many countries including China, India, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Spain, and other parts of Europe and North America. He has delivered invited lectures and participated in conferences in Korea, Libya, Jordan, Malaysia, Poland, Australia, Canada and elsewhere.

Gordon Nelson is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo, Canada. He has undertaken research, consulting, teaching, and administrative work in many parts of Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. He has published numerous books, monographs, and articles in the broad fields of geography, human ecology and planning. He lived in Dubai for nearly a year in 2009-10 and has returned to the United Arab Emirates frequently since. He has received awards from organizations such as the Canadian government, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

Professor Amer Rghei has a PH.D., The University of Waterloo, and a M.Arch., McGill University, Canada. He has lived, taught and done research in architecture, interior design, and environmental planning at a number of universities in United Arab Emirates and other countries for close to twenty years. His research and educational work has taken him to many countries including China, India, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Spain, and other parts of Europe and North America. He has delivered invited lectures and participated in conferences in Korea, Libya, Jordan, Malaysia, Poland, Australia, Canada and elsewhere.

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