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Copyright © 2019 LBS Photography Awards

Shifting Sands

Toby Smith

The Persian Gulf is on the brink of destroying its natural environment of global migrant species. Unique, green, pristine and threatened ecosystems lie unrepresented and unprotected.

 

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are diversifying their economies towards eco-tourism and ecosystem services with vast capital to invest. British conservationists and experts are best placed to consult, guide and capitalise on this movement whilst implementing best conservation practices to benefit the globe.

 

The Persian Gulf landscape is misrepresented by Western media, contributing to a low penetration of conservation and biodiversity expertise in the area. This photography documents threatened ecosystems of the Persian Gulf to promote wider understanding and capacity building by UK-based NGOs and conservation groups.

 

The end goal is to encourage, support and facilitate effective consultation or management of remaining pristine Gulf Ecosystems through either protection or integration into sustainable tourism, resulting in a more positive outlook for global migratory species and net biodiversity.

 

Development is rapidly threatening these landscapes. However, after initial meetings with Emirati stakeholders, I was excited at how connected, proud and committed they were to their natural resources. Emirati and Saudi Sheikhs have rapidly implemented, invested in and benefitted from protected areas after species richness has been revealed by assessments coordinated from the UK.

 

Photography and exhibitions will help spearhead effective dialogue and partnerships across continents for the benefit of the UK conservation sector, the Gulf ecosystems, and the global migrant species passing through.