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The trees will be planted in shallow areas that are not exposed to waves Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai Municipality has launched an initiative to plant mangrove trees in Dubai’s natural reserves as part of its efforts to preserve and develop the coastal environment.

Dubai Municipality will start planting mangrove trees in its marine reserves in Ras Al Khor and Jebel Ali. These trees will be planted in areas that are not exposed to waves, such as shallow areas and creeks, where the tidal rate does not exceed more than one or two metres.

Dawoud Al Hajri, Director-General, Dubai Municipality, said: “The initiative is part of implementing the UAE leadership’s directives to strengthen environmental sustainability and protect, manage and enhance the nation’s rich biodiversity. The initiative also assumes particular significance in the context of the UAE’s strategic initiative to drive efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, which will make it the first country in the Middle East and North Africa region to do so.”

Mangrove forests play an important role in reducing carbon emissions, providing natural habitats, promoting reproduction and sustainability of marine biodiversity, and creating opportunities for ecotourism, he added.

‘Environmental treasure’

“We are looking to increase the cultivation of mangroves in Dubai as they are considered an environmental treasure and have great economic and biological importance. They contribute to preserving different types of wildlife and marine life. The environment of mangrove roots serves as a natural incubator for fishery resources. They also provide a protective habitat for birds apart from being a source of food for them.”

Ecological importance

Mangroves are also a refuge for endemic and migratory birds, in addition to producing a high quantity of oxygen. Mangrove cultivation also contributes to protecting the beaches through the formation of a belt that safeguards the soil from erosion. Furthermore, mangrove plants purify the environment by absorbing some harmful chemical pollutants.

Mangroves also help increase biodiversity by providing a suitable environment for the growth and reproduction of marine organisms. They also enhance protection against dust storms and hurricanes, in addition to improving climatic conditions such as lowering temperatures.

Diverse benefits

The cohesion of mangrove roots, their branching and their extension on the sea floor, prevents them from being swept away by waves. They protect the marine environment in which algae grows, contributing to improving the quality of the surrounding water and creating a conducive environment for the growth of different types of coral reefs.

The leaves of the mangrove plant are used in many medical and chemical industries. Furthermore, they play an important role in maintaining ecological balance and protecting creatures from extinction, apart from being a major source of food, fuel and wood. Mangrove swamps are classified as one of the richest in the marine environment, and their trees are highly resistant to salinity.