On Monday, Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG) and Procter & Gamble inaugurated what is soon to become a lush green haven along the desert coastline of Dubai.
Dubai Mangrove Forest is situated at the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary. According to the official statement, the positioning is a US protected reserve that is being managed by EMEG and has been contained in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
The initiative is consistent with Dubai's plan for more than half the location to be transformed into natural reserves by 2040. It has additionally been developed in collaboration with The Storey Group and EcoMatcher which launched the One Billion Trees Initiative this season.
What is it possible to find at Dubai Mangrove Forest?
A total of just one 1,000 mangrove trees have already been planted along a stretch of Dubai coastline to make a lush green space, and that number is set to grow in the coming months.
P&G has announced that it intends to plant more saplings, and adopt mangroves that are 4 or 5 years old, to increase the carbon sequestration in the months to come.
According to Ali Al Suweidi, founder and president of EMEG, the aim is for the 500,000-square-metre area to be blanketed by greenery. When the tide is high, a large portion of the region will be covered with water.
The region also comprises coral reefs, seagrass beds and a natural beach that form part of a breeding ground for endangered species of turtles.
“Last year, we'd 46 turtle nests along this beach. This season, we have 32 up to now, with that number hopefully set to increase soon,” says Al Suweidi.
Other than turtles, the positioning will be home to 40 species of birds, together with species of smaller fish and crabs, says Karen Storey, chief executive of The Storey Group.
A single wooden ramp or boardwalk has been built at the destination, allowing those that visit to get a much better look at the mangrove forest and its own wildlife.
Who is allowed to visit?
As of this moment, Dubai Mangrove Forest is not open to everyone.
So as to protect the sanctuary and its own wildlife, a visit to Dubai Mangrove Forest could be created by invitation only. At the moment, you will have a focus on educational school trips and corporate team development.
“We will be organising trips for a small number of people at a time. It really is especially best for children so they can learn to take care of the environment. They are the future and you want to pass these lessons right down to them,” says Al Suweidi.
According to Al Suweidi, it could open to the general public as early as after Eid Al Fitr, with online bookings required to make a visit.
Plant a mangrove - and 'chat' with your tree
Among the key aims of the brand new destination is to inspire the planting of more mangroves and increase green spaces in the UAE.
As part of this initiative, schools and companies will be invited to plant saplings and find out more on their importance for the ecosystem.
P&G has teamed up with EcoMatcher that may allow people to go to the destination virtually. Through the consumption of blockchain technology, people should be able to view and track their individual trees online.
“We could have an app which will allow people to ‘chat’ with their mangroves,” says Storey.
“Through the app, it will be possible to ask your tree where it lives, what its height is, what it’s currently doing and what impact it’s having on the surroundings. It’s a built-in technology to activate with the clients and employees.”