How mangroves fight climate change

But trees are helping the city fight the climate crisis. Mangroves -- woody, salt-tolerant trees that grow along tropical coastlines -- protect coastal areas from erosion, wave surges and floods by creating buffer zones and regulating tides.But trees are helping the city fight the climate crisis. Mangroves -- woody, salt-tolerant trees that grow along tropical coastlines -- protect coastal areas from erosion, wave surges and floods by creating buffer zones and regulating tides.

"Mangroves are the first line of defense for any coastal city," Shaikha Al Dhaheri, the head of Abu Dhabi's Environment Agency (EAD), told CNN. Mangroves are also a main breeding ground for fish and home to several species of birds.

But their work doesn't stop there. They're also key to the global fight to keep our planet's temperature from rising more than a critical 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

"Mangroves trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the root system and sediments, acting as a carbon capture or carbon sink," Amna Al Mansoori, a marine habitats scientist at EAD, explained.

One hectare of mangrove forest can store about 3,754 tons of carbon, according to a study done by Abu Dhabi's government. That's the equivalent of taking about 2,651 cars off the road for a year.

The UAE has among the highest CO2 emissions per capita in the world.

"Mature trees have extensive root systems, some roots measuring two to three meters, that make them very efficient at absorbing and capturing carbon," Al Mansoori said. "Studies have shown that they capture more carbon than terrestrial forests and this makes them very important in fighting climate change."

A study done in the Amazon suggests mangroves can store twice as much as the region's rainforests.

Mangrove forests under threat

The World Wildlife Fund estimates over one-third of the planet's mangroves have already been cleared. They're often the victims of human encroachment and coastal development.

That was nearly the case in the United Arab Emirates. The country's meteoric rise in the late 1970s and 1980s meant that some of its mangrove forests were lost.

"The pace of development was much faster than any protection could be put on the ground, but luckily because of the commitment from our leadership, starting with Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE, mangroves were made a priority," explained Al Dhaheri. "Today, for any development to happen in Abu Dhabi, it has to go into a very rigorous permitting and licensing procedure to protect habitats."

Read the full story at https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/15/middleeast/abu-dhabi-mangroves-scn-intl/index.html

1-2-0 (www02)