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EAD official stresses importance of Mangroves

posted on 10/10/2011: 2619 views

With the United Arab Emirates having 75 square kilometres of mangrove forests, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General at Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), said yesterday it was important to conserve and protect this species.

The mangrove is a unique tree species which helps reduce the impact of climate change, acts as a nursery to the emirate's fish stocks and as a buffer protecting coastal areas against extreme weather events. The species is often referred to as the lungs of the seas, and is being highlighted in the second episode of the Environment Show, with Ask Ali which is being screened at the Eco-Cinema at the Bu Tinah Experience this entire week.

"Our mangroves are an important part of our natural eco-system; their survival is key to the sustainability of our emirate," she said and added "We need to be prudent in our approach to development; with the rapid growth we have experienced here in Abu Dhabi, attention needs to be paid to our natural bio-diversity and this includes our mangroves, which are still under threat today".

EAD is supporting several mangrove planting initiatives to help alleviate the effects of dredging, as well as mitigate the loss of habitat that occurs when mangroves are removed. The most recent successful mangrove planting project took place earlier this year when EAD successfully planted 800,000 mangroves on the coast of Saadiyat and Jubail Islands. To give people the opportunity to have a closer look at this species, EAD has created a mangrove nursery in the Bu Tinah Experience dome. At the end of the campaign, the agency will be planting these saplings near Abu Dhabi city.

Thabit Al Abdessalaam, Director of Biodiversity Management Sector, said: "Mangroves provide an important habitat for both aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna, and for 75 percent of all tropical commercial fish species. They also act as a nursery ground offering them shelter and food. Other species such as mud crabs, shrimps, as well as some water-birds and waders depend on the mangroves. Unfortunately, there has been an estimated 21 percent decline in mangrove area within the mangrove species range since 1980." "The second episode of The Environment Show with Ask Ali' series will give viewers a close-up look at our national treasure, and the opportunity to discover mangroves in an informative yet entertaining way," said Khansa Al Blouki, Assistant Manager, Campaigns Department. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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