UAE’s Mangroves Are Crucial and it’s Important to Save Them

Mangroves are considered to cover over 150 square kilometres of the UAE’s coastline. Apart from acting as a “green lung” for big cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it also provides a habitat for wildlife and relaxation grounds for humans.

Mangroves are regarded as a beautiful component of the UAE’s landscape – a natural edge to the developed urban environment, where flamingos flight together and fish and crustaceans multiply.

Two biologists from New York University Abu Dhabi, Shady Amin, assistant professor of biology and Guillermo Friis, a post-doctoral associate in the marine biology lab, can help to understand the truly unbelievable ecosystems which are close to the doorstep, or few lucky can view it from their apartments.

Mangroves are very special as they are woody plants that occupy the intertidal zones of tropical and subtropical coasts all around the globe. They could be easily noticeable from the visible root systems that give them the strange impression of being planted upside-down. The strange appearance is the result of variation developed to survive in harsh environments, which include high temperatures, high salinity and intense UV exposure.

The most noticeable feature, the aerial roots are known as pneumatophores, it would help the plant cope with growth in oxygen-deprived sediments, and also physically stabilize these soft sediments.

There is a need to save the mangroves as being primary producers such as land plants or sea-dwelling phytoplankton; mangroves are photosynthetic organisms that can transform sunlight into energy.

It is used to change carbon from carbon dioxide gas generated from burning fossil fuels, into organic carbon that nourishes the plants themselves and the entire ecosystem they exist in.

Nestled between the open water and shorelines, mangroves offer habitats for many species which include oysters, phytoplankton, sponges, crabs and other organisms. The relationship is interactive; with mangroves relying on the organisms they support which supports the plants in return. As mangrove forests back a high level of biodiversity; UAE’s biodiversity is no different. Hence, safeguarding is important.

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