A.R. "Rob" Western
Rob Western has worked in Abu Dhabi as a language instructor since 1978. His interest in the plants of desert areas goes back to the late 1960s when he was teaching in Sudan, followed by several years in northern Libya. The distinction between the Mediterranean flora of the Libyan coastline and the desert tolerant species of the Sahara plateau served to increase his fascination for the vegetation of arid areas.
On arrival in Abu Dhabi he became the Plant Recorder for the recently-established Emirates Natural History Group (ENHG) and set about surveying the UAE comprehensively. There were no local plant guides so between 1980 and 1989 plants were photographed and representative samples collected for identification purposes. All determinations have been carried out by staff at the Herbarium of Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden and the Royal Botanical Garden at Kew. Rob Western has also set up a modest herbarium in Abu Dhabi for the ENHG.
At present he is working on Das Island in the Arabian Gulf, but still makes regular recording trips into the interior of the UAE.