Abu Dhabi: One million mangrove seeds were planted using drones by the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) as part of the drone mangrove plantation project’s initial phase to assist the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative.
During a historic visit to the UAE in February 2021, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, met with Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, at Jubail Mangrove Park, where the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative was unveiled.
In addition to supporting Abu Dhabi’s ambitious plans to become a global hub for research and innovation in support of the conservation of mangroves, this initiative, which is carried out by EAD with a number of local, regional, and international partners, emphasises the significance of mangroves for carbon sequestration to combat climate change.
Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, remarked that, “The UAE began mangrove plantation in the 1970s under the guidance of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the UAE and also known as the First Environmentalist. He commenced mangrove plantation along the coasts of the islands and mainland of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Using the knowledge of local communities and his foresight, Sheikh Zayed advised on and supervised the project, and for the late Sheikh Zayed, the plantation of mangroves, whether it was on terrestrial or marine habitats, was a passion. The Eastern Mangrove plantation was the inception of the first mangrove plantation programme of Abu Dhabi.”
With each planting cycle, EAD has improved its seed germination methods, site planting patterns, seed dispersal systems, and drones so they can fly longer. The drone is self-designed and engineered to drop seedlings from the air, monitor the growth of mangrove saplings, map the habitat and create 3D imaging.
The agency plans to further evolve its methodologies and technology. Data has shown that the growth of the seed in-situ using drones has a success rate that remains stable over three years, as per the report.