Vision 2030: The UAE’s commitment to plant 100 million mangroves

Mangrove planting

The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, understood the importance and great value of the mangrove trees, and initiated a massive forestation program.

And recently, at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), HE Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment,  announced the UAE pledge to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030.

Companies for Good was born to help businesses make a positive impact – for society and the planet. We are committed to the UAE’s vision for 2030 and want to give companies the opportunity to be part of the UAE’s vision to reforest the mangrove natural reserves.

Thank you for playing your part.

Mangrove forests, ‘the lungs’ of the UAE

  • Mangroves are the dominant coastal vegetation of the Arabian Peninsula, occupying one of the driest mangrove habitats in the world. In the past people living in the UAE depended on mangrove trees as a source of food, fuel and building materials for houses and ships, due to their durability and high resistance to rotting and termites.
  • Because of their ability to sequester carbon, mangroves help reduce the negative impact of greenhouse gases – mainly produced by burning fossil fuels. Mangrove trees sequester and store carbon dioxide (CO2) at a rate two to five times greater per equivalent area than tropical forests.
  • This means that conserving and restoring mangrove forests is essential to fighting climate change.

Unique and exceptional trees

  • The mangroves species of the UAE are comprised exclusively of the highly salt tolerant grey mangrove (Avicennia marina), locally called ‘Qurm’, which has been shown to tolerate salinity twice that of seawater.
  • Mangroves are halophytes – plants that live in salt water. Mangroves get air from respiratory roots and excrete salt from the under-side of their leaves. This makes mangroves more sustainable because, unlike other tree species, they thrive in salty water and thus do not rely on a supply of fresh water which is highly scarce in this region.

Additional benefits:

  • Positioned between the open water and shorelines, mangrove forests are a critical part of coastal ecosystems providing shelter for fish, shrimp, crab, shells, barnacles, oysters, phytoplankton, sponges, and other organisms.
  • Mangroves also protect coastal areas from erosion by creating a buffer zone, filtering and softening tidal flows, and can even reduce the damage caused by tsunamis. As biologist Shady Amin from NY University Abu Dhabi states: “For the UAE and with increasing sea level rise, mangroves are essential because I expect they will play an important role in protecting our shorelines from erosion”.

Mangrove deforestation

  • Mangroves are estimated to cover more than 150 square kilometers of the UAE’s coastline, acting as a “green lung” for big cities such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Ajman, while also providing habit for wildlife.
  • Despite the ecological and economic importance of mangrove forests in the UAE, currently mangrove reserves are under threat and immediate action is required to restore the ecosystem.
  • According to Emirates Nature–WWF “more than 35% of all mangroves in the world already destroyed. Much of this is due to habitat loss resulting from coastal development. As mangroves die off, more carbon is released which increases effects of climate change causing more mangroves to die off and more carbon to be released…It’s a vicious cycle.”

More details about our planting programme

Planting locations in the UAE

All mangrove areas in the UAE are listed by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCE) and monitored directly by each Emirate Municipality Environment protection department or authority.

Tree Nursery and Planting Locations

  • Dubai, Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary: Dubai Municipality and DEWA
  • Abu Dhabi, Al Jubail Island: Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD)
  • Ajman, Al Zorah Nature Reserve: Ajman Municipality Planning & Environment Department
  • Ras Al Khaimah, Mina Al Arab Nature Reserve: Environment Protection & Development Authority (EPDA)
  • Sharjah, Kalba Mangrove Park: Environment & Protected Areas Authority
  • Umn Al Quwain, UAQ Mangrove Beach: UAQ Municipality & Tourism Department

Planting process

The process of planting mangrove trees
has three main stages (during 6 months):

  1. Seed collection
    Collect seeds from mangrove forest
    (by hand, labour intensive)
  2. Nursery
    Plant in pots in a nursery (involves renting the land, purchasing plant pots and soil, and labour for 5 months monitoring the growth to at least 30cm high with 5 pairs of leaves)
  3. Planting
    Prepare and transport the seedlings to the site to be planted in nature. We plant with people to rasie awareness.

Planting season & Soil suitability

  • According to the UAE Government Agricultural Guidelines the best time for planting mangrove is during the cooler months, avoiding extreme environmental conditions. It is also recommended to plant seedlings instead of seeds to achieve a high success rate.
  • The best planting season for Avicennia marina in the UAE is therefore from October to April, which are also the appropriate months to do outdoor team activities and group plantings.
  • We’re planting the young trees (known as seedlings) in existing mangrove forests that are more than 5,000 years old. The soil is therefore proven to be ideal for these trees to thrive.

Monitoring & Certification

  • Our team monitors the growth and wellbeing of the mangroves regularly during their first months at the nursery. Then, once planted, we visit the site every 2-3 months until the trees are 1-year-old. If they rooted and grew healthy during the first year in the forest, then they will most likely continue growing and thriving for the next 25-30 years.
  • We will be sharing high resolution pictures and videos during the various stages of the process during the first year of growth.
  • After completing the plantation, Companies for Good will issue a certificate to the sponsoring company stating the number of trees planted, date and location and Kg of CO2 expected to be offset during the trees lifetime.

Planting trees with your team

Looking at making a big difference to the planet?

We have various options to help you make the UAE greener and contribute to the 100 million pledge!