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'Rainforest' in the desert

'Rainforest' in the desert

Dubai United Arab Emirates

Imagine a rainforest in a desert where 3,000 plants and 800 animals, including a sloth, thrive.

It’s not just a mirage it’s the Green Planet in the United Arab Emirates, a four-storey, exotic jungle inside a biodome, complete with the world’s largest man-made tree.

Christopher Davis, head of operations at the Green Planet says, “It’s a slice of nature. Imagine a tropical rainforest in the Amazon; we’ve taken a cut out of that, brought it here to the middle of the desert. All of the animals that you see here, the trees, the plants, butterflies, reptiles, you name it. All kinds of animals, from all over the world, (and) different rainforests.”

Green Planet will not just be a place to escape the arid Dubai heat but to also learn about how rainforests work.

Up to fifteen educational programmes in five areas of eco-exploration are scheduled for children aged 3 to 14.

“The goal is certainly education, that’s a primary one. We have a lot of plants for school children to come in to learn a lot about nature”, Davis added.

But what about the energy it takes to turn a desert into the tropics, especially when it comes to precious fresh water?

“The interesting thing about this building is it is actually a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, which is a relatively hard thing to get. It means that there is a certain energy conservation point to it from the very design, all the way through construction and now through operations. The waterfall you see behind me is a recycled waterfall, very little water use…”

Visitors entering the dome must pass through an airlock which helps to maintain the internal eco-integrity of this immersive vertical facility.