- The mangroves have been planted via drones at different locations around Al Mirfa, in Al Dhafra Region
- The nationwide plan is to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030
As per the recent reports, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) successfully planted one million mangrove seeds using drones recently. The current plantation drive is part of the first phase of the drone mangrove plantation project supporting the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative.
During COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment announced a nationwide plan to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030. The current initiative, working in that direction, is implemented by EAD with a series of local, regional and international partners.
It is noteworthy that the planting of one million seeds follows a successful initial phase implemented by EAD in partnership with ENGIE, the global energy company, and Distant Imagery, a drone engineering solutions company. This initial phase focused on planting mangroves via drone in 2020, with up to a 48 per cent success rate.
EAD believes that the use of drone technology to plant mangroves has many advantages as the environmental footprint of the methodology is low as it makes intense labour and sapling transportation redundant. It is also cost-effective as it lowers the overall price of mangrove planting, removes the need for mangrove nurseries and associated costs, and reaches remote and difficult areas easily.
Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, said: “The UAE began mangrove plantation in the 1970s under the guidance of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the UAE and also known as the First Environmentalist. He commenced mangrove plantation along the coasts of the islands and mainland of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.”
Globally, mangroves are declining due to natural and human challenges but, she pointed out that Abu Dhabi has a different story to tell as the plantation of mangroves has continued in a slow but steady manner. “A prime example is our latest project of planting one million mangrove seeds via innovative drone technology. This project is one of a number of programmes run by the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative in support of the UAE’s pledge to plant 100 million mangroves in 2030,” she added.
She indicated that the success rate for this year’s planting looked great so far and based on the data, this year, they will do a refilling of areas for the future success of the project. She remarked: “This project is a continuation of our efforts to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change as mangroves have proven to be very efficient at carbon sequestration, thus reducing the levels of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.”
Interestingly, the drone is self-designed and engineered to drop seedlings from the air, monitor the growth of mangrove saplings, map the habitat and create 3D imaging.
Notably, the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative was announced in February 2021 during the landmark visit of Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge to the UAE. The Prince had met Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, at Jubail Mangrove Park. It must be noted that UAE plans to establish the emirate as a global hub for research and innovation in support of the conservation of mangroves, and focuses on the importance of mangroves for carbon sequestration to combat climate change.