The Khalifa Empowerment Programme (AQDAR), a part of the UAE Ministry of Interior, has partnered with Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), one of the largest listed integrated utilities in the region, and Blue Forest, a leading UAE-based reforestation service provider, on a major employee-based mangrove restoration initiative in the UAE.
Entitled “Tree for 50,” the campaign will feature 500 TAQA employees planting 50,000 mangrove trees, the UAE’s largest employee-led mangrove restoration project to date, in honour of the Year of the 50th.
The 50,000 mangroves will be planted on Al Jubail island and occupy space equivalent to 21 football pitches. Together, they will offset as much as 615 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually once the trees reach maturity, directly contributing to the UAE’s climate change objectives.
Additional mangroves will be planted in Kenya by Blue Forest as part of its goal of planting 100 million mangroves in the next five years.
Dr. Ibrahim Aldabal, CEO of AQDAR, stated, “We are proud of our partnership with TAQA and Blue Forest to implement this vital project, through which we write a new chapter in our journey towards placing global positive citizenship and sustainability at the core of our activities.”
Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and Managing Director of TAQA, said, “As a company dedicated to being Abu Dhabi’s low carbon power and water champion, building a more sustainable future is in our DNA. Sustainability and ESG are at the centre of TAQA’s strategy and are critical to protecting our local ecosystems for future generations. Our partnership with AQDAR and Impact Adventures is one of many ways we seek to support the UAE’s sustainability ambitions.”
Vahid Fotuhi, Founder of Blue Forest, added, “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our communities today. This three-way partnership will see us enhance climate resilience locally and globally. We could not be happier.”
The mangrove ecosystems provide home and shelter to many fisheries and juveniles and food sources for various animals. They support rich biodiversity and provide a valuable nursery habitat for fish and crustaceans. Mangroves also act as a natural coastal defence against storm surges, tsunamis, rising sea levels and erosion. Their soils are highly effective carbon sinks, sequestering vast amounts of carbon.
Yet mangroves disappear three to five times faster than overall global forest losses, with severe ecological and socio-economic impacts. More than 35 percent of all mangroves globally are already destroyed. Their numbers have been cut by half in the past 40 years. As mangroves die off, more carbon is released, which increases the effects of climate change.
This “Tree for 50” campaign aims to turn the tide on mangrove erosion and help strengthen the climate and coastal systems, one tree at a time.