Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mangrove Plantation- A great way to offset carbon emmissions

Mangroves are UAE's the most bio diverse geographical feature. In past, locals depend on mangroves for food and wood (for fire, construction material etc). Even marine life is dependent on it, fish population cultivate in mangroves and once they are old enough, fish venture into oceans. Mangroves provide habitat to many animal species. Mangroves protect coast from erosion and tidal waves. Recently it is found out that mangroves hold 3-5 times as much carbon‬ as the same area of rainforest! So mangroves help to reduce global warming.
Read more to know more about UAE's mangroves.
Dubai Mangrove Planting Event

Last week when I came to know about mangrove planting event in Dubai, I grabbed the opportunity. I have planted trees before many time, but it was my first mangrove plantation experience.
The event was organized by EMEG (Emirates Marine Environmental Group) and PATT foundation.

As we all arrived at EMEG Ghantoot reserve, where we could see mangroves around us and ocean at short distance, we were all transported to plantation site. After demonstration we were ready to plant 1 year old Avicennia Marina, a species of mangrove tree in silky sand under water in mangrove. We were told to plant the shrubs at least 1 meter apart. By digging the silk sand, inserting the roots, covering and then pressing it to fix it, that was all that easy. The group planted total 1000 plants. Luckily there was breeze coming from sea so it was not very hot that afternoon.
Mud Crabs
During planting we came across mud crabs, those were tiny cute things, when they crawl on your hands it tickles. Hannah from EMEG told us about mangrove crabs, which can climb on mangrove tree. There were other insects and worms too. No doubt mangroves are habitat for birds too. Mangroves are a natural habitat for 75% of all tropical juvenile commercial fish species. Though the planting mangroves was little messy activity, it was great fun. This definitely is a great educational eco-activities for families.

Avicennia Marina is also known as gray mangrove. Their aerial roots allow the plant to absorb oxygen, which is deficient in its habitat. It has very high saline tolerance as well as high sun, wind, pest and disease tolerance. It means these mangrove plants don't need fresh water or irrigation, or any maintenance; natural salty sea water is sufficient for them to thrive.
Avicennia Marina
Avicennia Marina captures carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and stores them as carbon. This process is called carbon sequestration, and it helps control global warming by reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Therefore mangroves act as Carbon Sink! These carbon storing mangroves (whole system of plants, water body, soil) are also called as Blue Carbon Ecosystems. Abu Dhabi's Environmental Agency has demonstrated building a Blue Carbon project.

UAE is blessed with many khors- lagoons, marshes and mangroves. Some of them are developed or damaged or relocated and some of them are conserved. Mangroves are not only beneficial to keep the balance of local ecosystem but also to reduce carbon footprint of UAE, this prompts the need to plant more and more mangroves and arrange many such events.

After planting 1000 mangroves


Bhawna said...

That must have been fun! I stay in Ras Al Khaimah and there is huge stretch of mangroves right in the middle of the city. One can experience it up close by taking a boat ride from Manar Mall. There are regular clean up campaigns but no fresh plantations have been tried here. Hope the EEG can look at carrying out one in RAK too.
Congrats on reaching the 1000+ fans. Wish you many more!

Amruta Kshemkalyani- Tavkar said...

Thanks Bhawna!
Yes there are beautiful mangroves, great place for bird-watching too! Took few bird photos there few years back. Will let you know if I come across any similar activity in RAK.
We love it when our readers express their views! XX

Bhawna said...

Most welcome!

shebi said...

Great , if we wish to join such a save nature activity is there any new upcoming opportunities?? Please let us know

Amruta Kshemkalyani- Tavkar said...

Shebi, I am relaunching this blog as a bigger website, where there will be such volunteering activities announcements. Adding you to the list!