Arendal and Abu Dhabi, 20 August 2013 – A new video released today tells the story of the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project, which aims to improve our understanding of the other ecosystem services that coastal Blue Carbon ecosystems provide in Abu Dhabi. “Blue Carbon” refers to the ability of coastal vegetation, including mangrove forests, saltmarshes, seagrass beds, sabkhas and cyanobacterial mats, to sequester and store atmospheric carbon in biomass and sediments. The project is facilitated by the Abu Dhabi Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) and supported by an expert team led by GRID-Arendal, including UNEP, UNEP-WCMC, Forest Trends, and a group of world-class coastal carbon scientists
The video was shot during the extensive first three-week field mission of the project, in which international carbon experts teamed up with local volunteers to study the distribution of blue carbon ecosystems and the carbon they store in their biomass and deposit in the ground.
First results of these studies show that Abu Dhabi’s coastline stores substantive amounts of carbon across the ecosystems. Mangrove plantations are found to have built up significant carbon over time; however, carbon values are even higher in natural stands. Scientists have made exciting discoveries: they consider cyanobacterial ‘blue-green’ algal mats a potential new Blue Carbon ecosystem for the global expert community to consider. Further, sabkha sites, features unique to the region, have shown to hold deposited carbon that may get released to the atmosphere when these ecosystems are being destroyed.
Scientists also study the other services these ecosystems provide to the Emirate and its population, from beauty to hosting protected species such as dugongs to protecting coastlines from erosion.
Dr. Frederic Launay, Acting Director of AGEDI says, “the Blue Carbon project is pioneering for us, it is pioneering in the region and in the world. This is the first time that the Blue Carbon ecosystem of the region is looked at in a holistic way”.
The project will provide Abu Dhabi recommendations on using these approaches to conserve Blue Carbon Ecosystems and their services for the benefit of the Emirate and beyond. World-class experts involved give their insights in a series of video clips the project will be releasing over the next six months.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
abudhabi.bluecarbonportal.org or AGEDI.ae