May 21, 2024
Sustainability UAE

Dubai Unveils 72km Long Mangroves Project

Emirate Targets Sustainable Urban Growth

Dubai has unveiled an ambitious initiative called the Dubai Mangroves project to redefine coastal regeneration and fortify its commitment to sustainable urban growth. The groundbreaking endeavour, aligning with the objectives outlined in the Dubai 2040 Master Plan, seeks to integrate ecological preservation with urban development on an unprecedented scale.

Under the leadership of URB, the Dubai-based company behind transformative projects like the Dubai Reefs and The Loop projects, the Dubai Mangroves project is set to stand out.

Encompassing a staggering 72km of coastline, the project’s audacious goal is to plant over 100 million mangrove trees, a feat that will set a new global record. The initiative underscores Dubai’s determination to rank among the most resilient cities by 2040 and represents a monumental stride towards sustainable urban development.

The Dubai Mangroves project is driven by a deep understanding of the crucial role mangroves play in sustaining coastal ecologies.

Natural Bulwarks

Mangroves, with their remarkable ability to sequester carbon, protect against coastal erosion, and provide a habitat for marine life, serve as natural bulwarks against climate change. With each tree capable of absorbing approximately 12.3 kg of CO2 annually, the project is poised to sequester a staggering 1.23 million tonnes of CO2 each year, equivalent to the emissions of over 260,000 petrol-powered passenger vehicles annually.

Baharash Bagherian, CEO of URB, elucidated the project’s vision, emphasising its potential as a global model for harmonising urban and environmental innovation. He said: “Dubai Mangroves is a testament to how urban and environmental innovation can work harmoniously as a model for cities worldwide.”

Mangroves
A rendering of the Dubai Mangroves project, which aims to minimise habitat loss. Credit: URB

The project addresses pressing environmental challenges, including the alarming rise of global sea levels and the consequential loss of vital mangrove habitats. As sea levels continue to ascend due to climate change, coastal communities face existential threats exacerbated by the decline of mangrove forests.

Recognising this urgency, the Dubai Mangroves project aims to counteract habitat loss by embarking on the world’s most significant coastal regeneration effort.

Innovative Technologies

The project will monitor and enhance the growth and health of mangrove forests through innovative technologies such as drone use for reforestation, satellite imagery, and artificial intelligence analytics.

Mangroves
The Dubai Mangroves project envisages the planting of over 100 million mangrove trees. Credit: URB

These tools will revolutionise traditional reforestation methods, ensuring efficiency and precision in planting locations. Moreover, they will provide real-time insights into ecological impact, guiding adaptive management strategies to optimise ecosystem health and resilience.

Beyond ecological preservation, the Dubai Mangroves project will incorporate edutainment assets such as the Mangrove Visitor Hub. This hub is not just a visitor attraction but a platform for educating and involving the community in understanding the importance of mangroves and broader environmental challenges. The Botanical Museum and the Nature Reserve Conservation Centre further enhance this educational aspect, fostering environmental stewardship among residents and tourists.

Research Stage

As the project advances through its research stage, with pilot design studies underway in six strategic zones, it exemplifies Dubai’s commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainable development.

By blending ecological conservation with developmental ambitions, the Dubai Mangroves project sets a global benchmark for coastal regeneration and underscores the critical balance between urban growth and nature preservation.

Mangroves
Amar Vora roots for a data-driven approach to monitor and nurture mangrove forests. Credit: Serco

According to Amar Vora, Head of Space at Serco, regenerating 72km of Dubai’s coastline with 100 million mangroves presents formidable challenges.

Vora said innovative technologies, particularly satellite-based solutions, are indispensable to navigating these challenges, underscoring the significance of a data-driven approach to monitoring and nurturing mangrove forests.

The project’s planning phase hinges on urban twin solutions, empowered by cutting-edge Earth observation data. Amar noted that this technology can furnish the project’s decision-makers with comprehensive environmental insights, facilitating evidence-based planning from the project’s inception.

Satellite Imagery

Satellite imagery coupled with ground-based observations can help identify optimal locations for mangrove nurseries and assess environmental conditions crucial for ecosystem restoration.

Amar said Earth observation tools can also play a vital role during the planting phase, providing real-time data on site suitability and tracking changes over time.

In collaboration with technology partner Murmuration and mobility data partner Michelin Mobility Intelligence, Serco launched its Urban Twin Solution this March. Leveraging over 40 years of global experience in the sector, Serco’s holistic approach combines space-enabled environmental data with cutting-edge technology to address pressing environmental challenges, including those posed by the ambitious Dubai Mangroves project.

Featured image: A rendering of the Dubai Mangroves project. Credit: URB

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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