Hosted at the EAD Headquarters in Abu Dhabi, the event was attended by the Blue Carbon project team from EAD, ENGIE, and its partner, Distant Imagery, who are specialists in engineering drone solutions based on blue carbon restoration expertise and have designed and engineered drone rigging in the UAE. All attendees collaborated and participated in making seedballs, which protect the seeds when launched from the drone, as well as provide nutrients to ensure proper germination of the seeds when planted in the soil.
The project was initiated last year, in a very successful test pilot where approximately 2000 seeds were planted. Almost one year after the first planting, the success rate is estimated to be 25%, despite the volatile weather conditions last year. Implementing the learnings from last year, supported by an advanced drop mechanism and methodology, this year, the project team expects a success rate of at least 35%. These are excellent results if compared with a typical mangrove survival rate in nature is 5%. As part of the second phase of the project, plant seeding will take place earlier in the season, from early September, to ensure they are given an increased chance to stabilize and grow. There will also be a change in seeding time, to ensure seeds are captured with the highest chance of survival.
Ahmed Al Hashmi – Acting Executive Director for Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity at Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi said: “Restoring biodiversity and preserving vulnerable ecosystems is not a choice anymore but a necessity for the survival of humankind, in the wake of climate change. With this in mind, we are glad to be working with ENGIE on this project. To us this project is a direct extension to The UAE’s National Blue Carbon Project and The Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project that was launched in 2012, that focused on mapping the UAE’s carbon sinks extensions, and capacities.”
Commenting on the project, Florence Fontani, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, ENGIE Africa, Middle East, and Asia (AMEA), said: “Our partnership with EAD and Distant Imagery for this project sets an example to better engage to achieve carbon neutrality and address challenges in preserving coastal and marine ecosystems for human life. At ENGIE, we are honored to be part of this project and support the country’s goals towards conserving the rich environmental ecosystem for the generations to come.”