The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and ENGIE, the French global energy company, has successfully planted more than 35,000 mangrove seeds in the Mirfa lagoon in Abu Dhabi using highly innovative drone planting technology, as part of the second phase of the “Blue Carbon” Environmental and Social Responsibility project.
Initiated in 2020, the Mangrove Rehabilitation project, carried out in partnership with Dubai-based Distant Imagery, was a successful pilot project where approximately a hectare of coastline was planted with mangrove seed balls via specialized engineered drone rigging. The mangrove seeds were then monitored monthly for growth over a year.
The second phase involved further refined drone rigging and planting germinated mangrove seeds and seed balls to scale up the mangroves. The use of drones was crucial during each step of the project. They assisted in evaluating the above-ground environmental conditions, spatial arrangements, and ability to geo-map the site.
Mr. Ahmed Al Hashemi, Executive Director, Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector, EAD, said that “We are always eager to play an impactful role in tackling climate change in line with the vision of the UAE, which has now become a leader in the field. Moreover, the conservation of plant species is also a priority for us. The Blue Carbon project successfully combines our focus on these priorities and will contribute to achieving the Net Zero 2050 strategic initiative announced by the UAE government.”
Mr. Florence Fontani, Vice President Communications and Sustainability, ENGIE Africa, Middle East, and Asia (AMEA), commented, “Rehabilitating mangrove ecosystems is an effective way to mitigate the effects of climate change and restore natural habitats and biodiversity. At ENGIE, we are honored to be involved in such an impactful project that contributes to the UAE’s carbon-neutral goals and promotes sustainable development for a greener future for generations to come.”
Drones provide an efficient and fast method for dropping seeds at speeds of about 2,000 seeds per load. With the goal of increasing the success rate, Distant Imagery developed three distinct seed-dropping systems based on soil, elevation, and tidal features.