Sunday 22 May 2022 - 6:10:26 pm

Carbon sequestration is crucial to check climate change: EAD chief 

ABU DHABI, 18th January 2022 -- As increased carbon emissions caused by destruction of ecosystems will further contribute to climate change, Abu Dhabi’s Blue Carbon Project is a promising initiative to prevent such a situation, according to a top official.

"One major programme we have worked on at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is the Blue Carbon Project. Blue Carbon refers to the ability of coastal vegetation to store carbon. Blue carbon ecosystems, which include mangrove forests, saltmarshes, and seagrass beds, store and sequester carbon in biomass and sediments," said Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the EAD.

"If these ecosystems are destroyed, buried carbon can be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change and ocean acidification. This means we should strive to always keep these ecosystems intact," she added while addressing a virtual session at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) on Monday.

She stressed the importance of conservation of the environment and sequestering carbon to achieve sustainable development, and shared insights and examples of initiatives and projects undertaken by the EAD to help preserve mangroves to combat climate change.

The UAE was one of the first countries to recognise the importance of coastal habitats, and mangrove restoration and conservation efforts have been implemented since the 1970s, the official pointed out.

"This country’s affinity to the sea led to the initiation of the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project in 2012, which was led by the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) together with the EAD and illustrated the full potential of coastal ecosystems in Abu Dhabi," Al Dhaheri explained.

The official noted that the success of the project prompted the initiation of Phase II, known as the National Blue Carbon Project in 2015, which extended the understanding and valuation aspects of coastal Blue Carbon ecosystem services, particularly in mangroves, in the Northern and Eastern regions of the UAE.

She concluded: "More recently, the UAE Mangroves Annual Carbon Sequestration trial study was completed to assess soil carbon sequestration rates of UAE mangroves. The study found that the mangroves of the UAE sequester carbon at a rate of 0.5 tonnes per hectare per year, in addition to the carbon stocks stored within mangrove tree biomass. These rates are far higher compared to terrestrial soils of arid regions and other reported mangrove soil carbon sequestration rates around the Arabian Peninsula."

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) is a global platform for accelerating the world’s sustainable development. Since its inception in 2008, ADSW has focused on delivering action across three principles: Global Collaboration and Leadership, Economic Development, and Technology and Innovation.

The platform brings together a unique fusion of policy makers, industry specialists, technology pioneers and the next generation of sustainability leaders.

WAM/Binsal AbdulKader/Hazem Hussein