A mention of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) coast might bring to mind the artificial islands near the city of Dubai. “Coastal development is an important objective of human civilisation but if not done properly, it could severely harm these ecosystems, which in turn harm us on the longer time scale,” Dr Amin said. Because of their ability to sequester carbon, one of the major benefits of mangroves is their ability to reduce harmful the greenhouse gases which cause climate change. Mangrove forests support a high level of biodiversity and the UAE’s are no exception. Mangrove trees in the UAE are known as “Qurm”, and take up 155 square kilometers of the UAE’s coastlines, according to the EAD. The most noticeable feature, the aerial roots known as pneumatophores, help the plant cope with growing in oxygen-deprived sediments, and also physically stabilise these soft sediments. UAE coastline and form an important and integral part of the coastal eco system in this country. Both scientists agreed that ecotourism activities such as kayaking are good ways to enjoy mangroves while having minimal impact. To the east of the island of Abu Dhabi is a national park with Grey mangroves. 5. Ahlam Bolooki, co-founder of Mangroves 4 Mankind, a UAE-based initiative to preserve mangroves around the world, tells Anand Raj OK why protecting this natural wonder is crucial for our environment. The 2030 Plan, the code with which Abu Dhabi developers must comply over the next 20 years, says sea levels in Abu Dhabi are expected to rise by about 0.75 metres in the long term. The area of mangroves in Dalma is small. Then, get people, community and government to preserve, conserve and even replanting mangroves! UAE is blessed with number of mangroves, marshlands along it’s coast as well as wetland on coast or inland but unfortunately now most of wetlands are under development. Visiting guests helped plant mangroves, contributing to the stability of the local ecosystem. Estimates of mangrove coverage in the UAE vary, with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, which uses high-resolution satellites to map the emirate's mangroves, putting their area at about 155 square kilometres. But to the southwest, the UAE coast is dotted with a complex mixture of natural features: mangroves, salt domes, salt flats, and coral reefs. Silvia Razgova/The National, Marine life attaches to a mangrove branch which hangs just above the water in the Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi. Jubail Island developers say housing plan will not threaten wildlife, Leaving no footprints in a fast-developing city can be a tough call, Abu Dhabi to study climate change threat facing sea creatures, A fifth of Abu Dhabi's mangroves in moderate or poor health, study shows. An EAD spokesman said the mangroves were important ecological assets, along with forests, mudflats and salt marshes. More recently, efforts have been made to plant new forests and to preserve existing mangroves as a natural and resilient protector of the coast. The government of the UAE is determined to increase the number and area of mangroves – by 2030 there will be four more national mangrove parks. (Silvia Razgova/The National), Salt-water crystals are exposed on mangrove trees in Abu Dhabi. As primary producers like land plants or sea-dwelling phytoplankton, mangroves are photosynthetic organisms that can convert sunlight into energy. At NYUAD, scientists are working to isolate and identify unique molecules produced by the microbes in mangroves that could have potential to tackle human diseases including cancer and pathogenic bacteria. TDIC said the resort was "designed in line with strict eco-guidelines" and will "contribute to the preservation of the valuable Eastern Mangrove area". The dominant species in the Arabian Gulf region is the gray mangrove (Avicennia marina). Sadly, many mangrove areas along the Abu Dhabi shoreline have been lost to coastal development and urban expansion. Pioneer project will use specialised, custom UAE-built drones and riggings to plant thousands of mangrove seeds near ENGIE’s Mirfa plant in Abu Dhabi. The UAE aims to conserve its native plant species and use them sustainably. Despite the carefully crafted guidelines, which the UPC said insist on "environmentally sensitive construction practices", part of the area is being developed into a major international resort. 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That’s why WWF recently joined with Conservation International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, The Nature Conservancy, and Wetlands International to establish the Global Mangrove Alliance. “More efficient use of water and energy in our daily lives, and of course being respectful when visiting the mangrove forests, can help to protect this ecosystem,” Dr Friis said. Dr Friis said the ecological conditions which mangroves thrive in are particularly extreme in the region, both in terms of salinity and temperature variability. Although the measures do not prevent development in the mangroves altogether, they will stipulate that all construction is carried out strictly in keeping with the environment around it. ", The report also identifies the mangroves as an area of significant ecological importance to the country as a whole. Mangroves are estimated to cover more than 150 square kilometres of the UAE's coastline, acting as a "green lung" for big cities such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, while also providing habit for wildlife and recreation grounds for humans. Date Initiated: 1990. We must urge people not to litter around the mangroves, especially tossing plastic bags, which can prevent the growth of mangrove trees and release pollutants that could be harmful to their health. Within the UAE there are approx 3000 hectares of mangrove forest (of which 2300 hectares are found in Abu Dhabi). Supporting mangroves in the UAE … Falah al Ahbabi, the general manager of the UPC, said: "The mangroves surrounding the city are the most important ecological resource in the country and contain more biodiversity than any other area in Abu Dhabi. The Eastern Mangrove "eco-resort", the brainchild of Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), will feature luxury villas next to the water, as well as 191 apartments, some of which will be next to a new marina. Mangrove forests are vital for the health of the planet, but they're rapidly disappearing. By Gavin Davids. Smithsonian science is laying the groundwork for mangrove conservation by documenting the critical services that mangroves provide and by examining how human activities are affecting the functioning of these ecosystems. “The ministry is working on a number of initiatives, including the planting of … [3] In the past, the local populations depended on mangrove trees as a source of food, fuel and building materials for houses and ships, due to their durability and high resistance to rotting and termites. There are several key threats to mangroves, including urban expansion, limited fresh water resources and pollution and physical damage from humans. Even marine life is dependent on it, fish population cultivates in mangroves and once they are old enough, fish venture into oceans. “The diversity of wildlife in mangroves is amazing and is worth exploring. “Although we can remove mangrove forests and re-plant them elsewhere, the fact that we are only planting mangrove trees without all the other microbes and higher organisms that are essential for mangroves means we are basically creating 'zombie' trees that can never flourish.”. The UAE's dazzling National Day show will take inspiration from nature as the country's majestic mangroves assume centre stage. Glide over shallow clear waters with rays, turtles and marine life. “In addition, different biological, chemical and physical processes connect mangroves to adjacent ecosystems including coral reefs or seagrass meadows.”. 3. This ammonia then allows mangroves to grow just like they do with trees.”. “They are part of the heritage of the country, and one to be protected,” Dr Friis said. On top of all of these benefits, mangroves provide recreational grounds, as demonstrated by the Mangrove National Park in central Abu Dhabi. Mangroves provide habitat to many animal species. Mangroves also protect coastal areas from erosion by creating a buffer zone, filtering and pacifying tidal flows, and can even reduce the damage and loss of life caused by tsunamis. But how much do we really know about the complexity of our mangrove ecosystems? A number of commercially important fish and shrimp species use mangroves as nursery habitats. The UPC said the guidelines would ensure the "protection and longevity" of the sweeping mangroves, identified as a key area for protection in Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, the developmental blueprint produced last year. The eastern mangrove lagoon in Abu Dhabi is a favorite holiday destination among rowers. Also avoid making loud noises that can disturb foraging and nesting birds. In past, locals depend on mangroves for food and wood (for fire, construction material etc). The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has announced that it will be rehabilitating areas of Abu Dhabi’s mangrove habitats … These coastal forests provide vital services to humans and wildlife, but mangroves are threatened throughout the world and disappearing at an alarming rate. Both the Urban Planning Council (UPC), the body charged with overseeing all development in the city, and the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) yesterday announced new planning guidelines for the new Eastern Mangrove Lagoon National Park. EAD and ENGIE use drone technology to rehabilitate mangroves. Most of us would see mangroves as a beautiful element of our landscape - a natural fringe to our developed urban environment, where flamingos flock together and fish and crustaceans proliferate. Mangroves are essential nurseries to three quarters of tropical commercial fish. The area is also a habitat for dolphins, dugong and turtles, as well as crabs, fish and seabirds. They are the first guidelines to be produced for what will be five national parks in the city. The relationship is symbiotic, with mangroves depending upon the organisms they support to support them in return. 2. The mangroves in UAE are steadily increasing both in area and in size and it is the community and leaders of this country who will need to keep them protected from new developments and urban expansion. Mangroves are estimated to cover more than 150 square kilometres of the UAE's coastline, acting as a "green lung" for big cities such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, while also providing habit for wildlife and recreation grounds for humans. iii. Dr Friis said sustainability was gaining weight in policy making in the Gulf, which provided an opportunity to introduce ecological considerations into urban development. “They basically convert this greenhouse gas into organic carbon that is either released into the surrounding sediments or is used to build their complex root structures,” Dr Amin said. They are highly recognisable from their visible root systems which can give them the strange impression of being planted upside-down. "Perched at the ecotone of aquatic and terrestrial ecologies, the mangroves are an important symbol for the city, as well as a barometer of how successfully growth is being managed. Mangrove forests are integral to the preservation of the UAE coastline; it … A lesser-known potential benefit of mangroves lies in the microbes they co-exist with. In order to preserve its biodiversity and protect and restore the natural habitats of its local plants, the UAE created a database of local plant species and made it available to the public. But we must be careful not to tread too heavily as to destroy it,” Dr Amin said. UAQ Mangrove Tours: Paddling the Mangroves UAE - See 3 traveler reviews, 4 candid photos, and great deals for Umm Al Quwain, United Arab Emirates, at Tripadvisor. “No organism on earth lives in isolation and all these microbes, the mangrove and other higher organisms like algae and crabs are interacting with each other,” Dr Amin said. Back in November it was announced that a brand new attraction showcasing the capital’s natural mangroves would open in early 2020. The TDIC mangrove enhancement scheme aims to protect and enhance the mangrove habitats in its project and has a number of inter-tidal mangrove nurseries. The new attraction on Jubail Island, located between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island, opened to the public on January 30. Two biologists from New York University Abu Dhabi, Shady Amin, assistant professor of biology and Guillermo Friis, a postdoctoral associate in the marine biology lab, help us understand the truly incredible ecosystems which are on our doorstep – or for the lucky, in view of our apartments. In 2014, the UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment completed the first phase of its date palm tree identification through DNA profiling through a collaboration with the UAE University.. Silvia Razgova / The National, putting their area at about 155 square kilometres. Mangroves are UAE’s the most biodiverse geographical feature. Data Comparative Guide to Asian mangroves StraitsTimes 12 May 2010- Mangrove … “Mangroves are the only evergreen forest in the Gulf and their unique ability to survive in this habitat makes them what we know as an "ecosystem engineer", providing shelter and foraging to many marine and terrestrial species,” he said. The mangrove is a unique tree species which helps reduce the impact of climate change. “We find more potential anticancer molecules produced from mangrove associated bacteria than researchers have found in most other marine habitats,” Dr Amin said. "Mangroves along the coast account for a large portion of the biodiversity of the country and provide an excellent habitat for the many migratory birds that transit the country between Central Asia and Africa," it says. Many mangroves have been harmed already by plastic bags and litter. Victor Besa / The National, Tourists set off for a kayaking trip through the Eastern Mangroves. The mangroves, which will eventually make up the Eastern Mangrove Lagoon National Park, are to the east of the city, between Abu Dhabi island and the airport. Put your balance and strength to the test on a standup paddle board/Kayak while exploring the beauty of the mangrove ecosystem. This in turn is used to transform carbon from carbon dioxide gas produced from burning fossil fuels, into organic carbon that feeds the plants themselves and the entire ecosystem they exist in. UAE joins international efforts to preserve marine life DUBAI, 1st October, 2020 (WAM) -- As part of the high-level week of the UN General Assembly and the UN Summit on Biodiversity, the UAE, Fiji, Kenya, Norway, Palau, Portugal, and Sweden convened a roundtable of ocean champions to propose and review critical deliverables for 2020 and 2021. The show at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara aims to support the ‘mangroves project’ that seeks to preserve the UAE’s natural resources. "The environmental framework policies ensure the long-term protection of the mangrove area for future generations of citizens and visitors to Abu Dhabi." “One of the main things microbes provide for mangroves is nitrogen, a required element to make DNA and proteins. But people should be careful not to stand on the roots of plants, or the surrounding sediments. @Email:rhughes@thenational.ae, Grandmother, 90, becomes first patient to receive Covid-19 vaccine as V-Day arrives in UK, Anwar Gargash: UAE ‘appreciates’ Kuwaiti-US efforts to end Gulf crisis, My 2020 Podcast: Sarah Al Amiri on launching Mars probe amid pandemic, Abu Dhabi road toll scheme to launch on January 2, Indian sailors held hostage by Houthis 'treated like animals' in 10-month ordeal, Watch: Whale shark in Abu Dhabi towed to safety in rescue operation, Six countries now exempt from pre-flight PCR test under Dubai travel rules, Laid-off pilots in UAE set up company to fly charter planes for affluent travellers, Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi launches trials for Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The mangroves, which will eventually make up the Eastern Mangrove Lagoon National Park, are to the east of the city, between Abu Dhabi island and the airport. Arabic for "The Mangrove" is Al-Qurm (ٱلْقُرْم), and it is the name of a corniche that is popular amongst residents of the city, near Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Street.. Also, the satellite town of Al-Wathba has a Ramsar wetland nearby. Krishna, Kaveri and Godaveri Deltas are covered by … ii. Published: October 10, 2011 00:00 Staff Report. Abu Dhabi moves to protect mangroves from development. Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said the drone-powered reforestation project would help to protect UAE shores from rising seas levels and boost fish stocks. Victor Besa / The National, Flamingos at Al Zorah Natural Reserve in Ajman. Evidence of Bronze Age civilisation has also been found in the mangroves, and the UPC confirmed the planning guidelines would ensure the key archaeological sites would be protected from development. Anand Raj OK Sep 11, 2020. Announcements regarding the other four parks are expected in the coming weeks. Positioned between the open water and shorelines, mangroves provide habitats for many species including oysters, phytoplankton, sponges, crabs and other organisms. In recent years Environmental impact assessment is done & environmental management plant is implemented while developing near the natural reserves. Focus on protecting the UAE's mangroves. And, historically, mangroves also provided fodder for livestock and served as an important building material in pre-oil times. “There are also large communities of fungi, algae and bacteria associated with the mangrove ecosystems.”. Abu Dhabi’s new Mangrove walk has officially opened to the public. Silvia Razgova/The National, Kayaking in the mangroves, Abu Dhabi. The sprawling forestry of the water is estimated to cover more than 150 square kilometres of the UAE coastline and is heralded as the green lung of the Emirates' cosmopolitan cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. A UPC spokesman said the measures "require that native vegetation and supporting hydrology be retained within the national park, while allowing for adjustments to changing climate, sea level and other conditions". Mangroves can protect coastal areas from erosion and floods, and Abu Dhabi is regenerating them to help fight climate change. “This is useful because the more carbon dioxide we put into our atmosphere, the more we suffer from climate change consequences.”. The walkway is open daily from 8am to 6.30pm. When it comes to individuals, the best thing citizens can do is remember that our habits always have an impact on the natural environment. “For the UAE and with increasing sea level rise, mangroves are essential because I expect they will play an important role in protecting our shorelines from erosion,” Dr Amin said. “For example, some microbes are symbiotic with mangroves and are able to convert nitrogen gas into ammonia, the main constituent of agricultural fertilisers. 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