UAE plants 10 mangrove trees for each COP28 visitor

850,000 — That is the the number of mangrove trees that Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi has planted along emirate’s coastal areas


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 1 Apr 2024, 3:34 PM

Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi has planted 850,000 mangrove trees along Abu Dhabi emirate’s coastal areas as part of the ‘Ghars Al Emarat’ (UAE Planting) initiative to plant 10 mangroves for each visitor to COP28 at Expo City Dubai.

The UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai hosted about 85,000 participants last year. Using innovative methods like drone seeding, the mangrove trees were planted in locations that offered the most suitable environments for growth, like Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, Al Mirfa City, and Jubail Island. The rate of carbon uptake by trees is estimated at one tonne per 5,000 mangroves. The initiative will help absorb 170 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere annually.

This initiative reinforces the UAE’s commitment to achieving climate neutrality and promoting the adoption of nature-based solutions to reduce the effects of climate change. It has been implemented under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of EAD’s board of directors.

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Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General, EAD, 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.”

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.”

Mangroves are being researched and studied by EAD, and as Abu Dhabi is home to the UAE’s largest mangrove areas, science-based mangrove restoration efforts are continuing across the emirate.

“Mangrove trees help mitigate the effects of climate change, absorbing greenhouse gases, thanks to their ability to store and sequester carbon. Mangroves can absorb up to four times more carbon than trees in the Amazon rainforest.”

She pointed out that 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.

The Ghars Al Emarat Initiative, created within the framework of the Abu Dhabi Climate Change Strategy, supports the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative, launched in February 2022, during the meeting between Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Prince William, the Prince of Wales, at Jubail Mangrove Park.

Ghars Al Emarat supports the 13th UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) related to ‘Climate Action’, which calls for urgent steps to address climate change and adapt to its effects, as well as national initiatives, including the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, which is in line with the UAE’s goal of planting 100 million mangrove trees by 2030.

Mangroves cover about 176sqkm 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.


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