The premise of the collections maintained and research conducted at SSBH is that species are native (apart from targeted studies on invasive taxa) to the UAE. Currently, however, there is no clear distinction between indigenous species and those introduced. This has led to species estimates ranging from 600 to over 800 depending on the individual or organization making the estimate. Therefore requires expert consultations for achieving consensuses. To address this disparity, it is necessary to discuss the merits of each taxon with a range of stakeholders. On that evidence, it is possible to develop confidence levels relating to species’ provenance.
In May 2019, SSBH organized a meeting with UAE-based botanists to develop confidence levels for each of the different species occurring in the territory. Prior to the meeting, attendees had opportunity to review a list of species (911) found occurring in wild environments in the UAE. The meeting comprised botanists from Landscape Agency, Government of Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah Seed Bank & Herbarium, International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, Flora Terrestrial & Marine Biodiversity, Environmental Agency, Abu Dhabi, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Dubai Natural History Group, Dubai Wildlife Society and moderated online by David Allen from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The outcome proved a significant milestone towards a native plant list and a basis to develop a forthcoming IUCN Red List of plant species in the UAE. SSBH staff played a full part in the IUCN Red Listing process.