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An Arabian oryx takes a breather in the shade of Ghaf trees in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: There are five million trees in Abu Dhabi at present, amounting to 2.7 trees per person, the emirate’s municipal authorities announced on Monday (February 27).

In fact, trees cover 7 per cent of Abu Dhabi city’s total area, as well as 15 per cent of Al Ain, and 30 per cent of Al Dhafrah region, the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) revealed.

Planting ghaf trees

Among the many trees in the emirate is the Ghaf tree, a species of flowering tree in the pea family that is also the UAE’s national tree.

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Ghaf trees in the UAE desert traditionally provide shelter and sustenance to tribal communities.

The DMT is responsible for planting Ghaf trees at various sites across the emirate, along with neem trees, palm trees, samar trees, arak trees and markh trees.

The authority also takes on the planting of other species after studying their hardiness to the local climate, and their ability to interact with the environment, the DMT said.

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A walkway through a mangrove area in Abu Dhabi. The Mangrove National Park encompasses a large portion of Abu Dhabi's eastern coast. Further south is the Eastern Mangrove Lagoon National Park, a protected 8km coastal stretch of forest skirting Abu Dhabi's airport. Image Credit: Supplied

Collaboration on urban development

As part of its focus on urban well-being and health in its biodiverse ecosystem, DMT’s strategy focuses on continuously updating masterplans, and collecting and analysing data in order to identify people impacted by urban development.

The authority conductsforums to identify groups or individuals directly affected by urban development, and inviting them to participate in collaborative initiatives to determine population growth and future development patterns.

The DMT will also continue to periosically reevaluate the urban expansion, and draw boundaries to preserve forests, reserves, rural areas, natural resources, historical sites, and agricultural lands, it added.