Through its blue carbon exploration, the UAE has led the region and the word in advancing recognition of blue carbon as a nature-based climate solution.
Blue forests and blue carbon are a high priority within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Significant efforts include the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project (ADBC) and the National Blue Carbon Assessment, which quantified carbon stocks and the other services provided by coastal and marine blue carbon ecosystems along the coast of the UAE. These initiatives also contributed to the improved understanding of coastal blue carbon on the regional and international scales, including contributing lessons and experiences to the development, design, and implementation of the Blue Forests Project.
Both projects enhanced capacity at multiple stakeholder levels, including the measuring and monitoring of carbon in coastal ecosystems and the management of associated data. In addition, they identified options for the incorporation of these values into policy and management from the municipal to international scales, including the recognition of the value of coastal blue carbon in the UAE’s Nationally Determined Contribution to fulfil the Paris Agreement.
Coastal blue carbon ecosystems have the potential to annually capture 0.5%-2% of the atmospheric carbon emitted globally.
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Underwater in the National Mangrove Park
360 English walking through the mangroves
360 English About Mangroves
Pathway: Understanding the value of ecosystems
Measurements and assessments included carbon baselines and ecosystem benefits for coastal and marine ecosystems in the Abu Dhabi Emirate and for mangrove carbon stocks of the Northern and Eastern Emirates.
Pathway: Economy opportunities
The feasibility of carbon finance and the value of other ecosystem benefits were assessed for the Abu Dhabi Emirate.
Pathway: Policy and management approaches
Policy options were investigated through a robust stakeholder engagement plan which included consultations throughout the duration of each project. These consultations explored variety options for harnessing the value of blue forests to support sustainable ecosystem management.
Pathway: Community engagement
To promote awareness and a general understanding of the local and global significance of coastal blue carbon ecosystems to the local stakeholders, various communication products were produced, and stakeholder engagement forums were held during the inception, development, and implementation of the projects.
The Abu Dhabi Blue Forests Project quantified carbon stocks and the other services provided by a variety of coastal and marine ecosystems along the coast of the Abu Dhabi Emirate (mangroves, seagrass, coastal sabkha, and algal mats). The project enhanced local capacity to measure and monitor carbon in these ecosystems and to manage associated data. In addition, it identified options for the incorporation of these values into policy and management to support sustainable ecosystem use and the preservation of their services for future generations.
Building on the results of the ADBC project, the National Blue Carbon Project extended the baseline assessment of the total carbon stocks of mangroves to the Northern and Eastern Emirates. This effort included field surveys that specifically quantify the carbon of mangroves ecosystems, capacity-building for those interested in learning blue carbon and mangrove ecology sampling approaches, and extensive laboratory and computer analysis to determine carbon stocks in a scientifically defensible manner.
Facts at a Glance
Ecosystem service values were estimated at $US1.66-1.71 billion
Abu Dhabi: calculated to store over an estimated 41 million tonnes of CO2
Northern and Eastern Emirates: The mean mangrove carbon stock consisting of vegetation, downed wood, and soils was 293 Mg C/ha.