850,000 mangrove trees planted in Abu Dhabi

The United Arab Emirates is making a significant effort to combat climate change by planting mangrove trees. The country pledged to plant 10 mangrove trees for each visitor to COP28, the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Dubai. This initiative highlights the UAE’s commitment to environmental sustainability and its recognition of the vital role that mangroves play in the fight against climate change.

The UAE has already made significant progress in its mangrove planting efforts. As of today, the country has planted over 850,000 mangrove trees along Abu Dhabi’s coastal areas as part of the ‘Ghars Al Emarat’ (UAE Planting) initiative. The COP28 initiative will further accelerate these efforts and contribute to the UAE’s goal of creating a more sustainable future.

Mangroves are a unique type of tree that thrives in saltwater environments. They are found along coastlines in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Mangroves have a complex root system that helps to protect coastlines from erosion and storm surges. They also provide a critical habitat for a variety of marine life, including fish, shrimp, and crabs.

In addition to their coastal protection and habitat provision benefits, mangroves also play an essential role in sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are incredibly efficient at capturing and storing carbon dioxide, making them a valuable tool in the fight against climate change.

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General, Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (AED), said: “This initiative comes as a continuation of the efforts initiated by the emirate of Abu Dhabi to restore mangrove trees in the 1970s, under the guidance of the late Sheikh Zayed, which was an expression of his in-depth knowledge of the local environment and his foresight.”

Mangroves support biodiversity and capture carbon, which contributes to climate change.

Dr Shaikha noted mangroves as a coastal and vital habitat for blue carbon, whose role in supporting biodiversity and in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change is extremely important.

“Mangroves are among the most productive coastal ecosystems in the world and are therefore very important because they provide a variety of environmental and economic services.”

Studies conducted by EAD revealed the ability of mangrove trees in Abu Dhabi to store carbon at a rate of 0.5 tonnes per hectare per year, which is equivalent to 8,750 tonnes at the emirate level, and the energy consumption of 1,000 homes per year.

Mangroves cover about 176 sq km across Abu Dhabi emirate, equivalent to 17,600 hectares, with 2,441,600 tonnes of carbon stored by natural mangroves and 676,480 tonnes by planted trees. This means that more than 3 million tonnes of carbon are currently stored by mangroves in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE’s mangrove planting initiative is a commendable example of how a country can take concrete steps to address climate change. By planting trees and investing in renewable energy sources, the UAE is working to create a more sustainable future.

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17 May, 2024