Abu Dhabi: Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General at Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD), said yesterday that it is important to conserve and protect the UAE's 75 square kilometres of mangrove forests.

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 dome titled "Bu Tinah Experience" on Abu Dhabi Corniche this entire week.

"Our mangroves are an important part of our natural eco-system; their survival is key to the sustainability of our emirate," Razan said.

Under threat

"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," she added.

The 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 was earlier this year with 800,000 mangroves planted on the coast of Saadiyat and Jubail islands. To give people the opportunity of a closer look at this species, the EAD has created a mangrove nursery in the dome.