Abu Dhabi is both an Emirate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a city- much like New York City in the state of New York. The total area of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is 67,340 square kilometres, and occupys about 87% of the total area of the UAE making it significantly the largest emirate in the county. Abu Dhabi City, until very recently was located exclusively on a large island less than 100 metres from the mainland. With the rapid rate of growth in recent years the city has now extended onto the mainland part of the coastline. The territorial waters of the Abu Dhabi embrace about 200 islands off its 700 kilometres coastline. The topography of the Emirate is dominated by low-lying sandy terrain dotted with sand dunes exceeding 300 metres in height in some areas.
Land cultivation and irrigation for agriculture and forestation over the past decade has increased the size of "green" areas in the emirate to about 5% of the total land area. About 1.2% of the total land area is used for agriculture. A small part of the land area is covered by mountains, containing several caves. The coastal area contains pockets of wetland and mangrove colonies. there are mangroves boarding much of Abu Dhabi also has dozens of islands, mostly small and uninhabited, some of which have been designated as sanctuaries for wildlife.