Abu Dhabi Environment Agency unveils Phase II of Blue Carbon Project

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Abu Dhabi Mangroves image
Representational image

The Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) has announced the start of the second phase of the “Blue Carbon” Environmental and Social Responsibility project, in collaboration with the France-based global energy company ENGIE, during an event led by Dr. Shaikha Salem al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD.

The latest phase follows a successful trial launch in 2020 where approximately 2,000 seeds were planted. Almost one year after the first planting, the success rate is estimated to be at 25 percent, despite the volatile weather conditions of last year. The Blue Carbon project’s second phase involves sowing mangrove seeds using cutting-edge drone planting technology.

The event hosted at the EAD Headquarters in Abu Dhabi was attended by the Blue Carbon project team from EAD, ENGIE, and its partner, Distant Imagery, who are experts in engineering drone solutions that are based on blue carbon restoration expertise.

All of the attendees worked together to make seed balls, which protect the seeds when they are released from the drone and supply nutrients to ensure healthy germination when the seeds are placed in the soil.

Dr. Shaikha Salem al Dhaheri
Dr. Shaikha Salem al Dhaheri
Secretary-General, EAD

“Mangroves play a critical role in our fight against climate change. These carbon-rich forests that dot the coastline of Abu Dhabi are key to stabilizing our environment and preserving the natural habitat of several species. The Blue Carbon project is one of its kind in the region and I am delighted that it has advanced to Phase II. Rebuilding and restoring an ecosystem that resiliently protects our coast will support the sustenance of mankind while consequently combatting climate change.”

With all the lessons learned from the last year, supported by an advanced drop methodology, this year, the project team expects a success rate of at least 35 percent. These are excellent results if compared to the typical mangrove survival rate in nature of 5 percent.

As part of the second phase, plant seeding will begin earlier in the season, from early September, to ensure they are given an increased chance to stabilize and grow. There will also be a change in seeding time, to ensure seeds are captured with the highest chance of survival.

Mr. Ahmed Al Hashmi, Acting Executive Director for Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity at EAD said, “We are glad to be working with ENGIE on this project. To us, this project is a direct extension to The UAE’s National Blue Carbon Project and The Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project that was launched in 2012, that focused on mapping the UAE’s carbon sinks extensions and capacities.”

Commenting on the project, Ms. Florence Fontani, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, ENGIE Africa, Middle East, and Asia (AMEA), said that this partnership with EAD and Distant Imagery for this project sets an example to better engage to achieve carbon neutrality and address challenges in preserving coastal and marine ecosystems for human life.

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