Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by News Editor
The Abu Dhabi Environment Agency (EAD) recently wrapped up its evaluation of Abu Dhabi’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The Abu Dhabi Red List of Ecosystems, which is part of EAD’s Abu Dhabi Assessment Project, is the region’s first such assessment of ecosystems.
The Secretary-General of EAD, Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, praised the Abu Dhabi Red List of Ecosystems for working with international partners to build and promote the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) program and knowledge products. She shared that the list would aid in safeguarding endangered habitats and ecosystems in the emirate by including crucial threatened ecosystems in their plans to expand the protected areas network. She highlighted that this action would enhance their efforts to reduce and adjust to the effects of climate change, especially since the UAE is getting ready to organize COP28 later in the year.
Dr. Shaikha said that the list was important for the growth of Abu Dhabi. She stated that it would help with urban planning, how land is put to use, and projects to build infrastructure. She added that it would be good to help Abu Dhabi grow while protecting the environment and keeping its ecosystems. She shared that they would publish and share the Abu Dhabi Red List of Ecosystems globally as an IUCN document. This would show Abu Dhabi’s commitment to protecting its biodiversity by using internationally-recognized methods on a local level.
Protecting Terrestrial and Marine Habitats: AED’s Assessment of Abu Dhabi’s Ecosystems
In 2013, EAD became an official member of IUCN, one of its strategic partners. In 2020, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment joined the IUCN.
They successfully assessed terrestrial and marine ecosystems and assigned 12 of them ‘Threatened’ status. Two ecosystems received designations as ‘Critically Endangered,’ five as ‘Endangered,’ and five as ‘Vulnerable.’ Based on the study, the emirate does not have any ecosystems that have broken down.
The Executive Director of EAD’s Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector, Ahmed Al Hashmi, commented on the Abu Dhabi Red List of Ecosystems. He stated that Abu Dhabi’s ecosystems and species are diverse but face various threats, such as pollution, development, and climate change.
The Abu Dhabi study found that ecosystems in mountains and wadis, coastal plains, mangrove forests, salt marshes, and coral reefs are some of the most at risk. EAD manages a network of protected areas that already includes many of these ecosystems. EAD manages a network of 20 protected areas in Abu Dhabi. These areas protect the emirate’s species and landscapes, especially those that are in danger.
Extensive monitoring of species and habitats, as well as projects to restore and rehabilitate plant and animal species, link the establishment of these areas. EAD was able to get important plant species, like Al Sarh, Ghaf, and Samar trees, back into their natural habitats so that they can continue to be a part of Abu Dhabi’s scenery and culture. EAD has also made an impact by recovering several threatened species, including Arabian Oryx, dugongs, and turtles.
IUCN is the oldest and largest environmental group in the world. It has members and volunteers from 185 countries. Also, it’s six commissions work to bring about change through education, communication, learning, and the development of information about the status of species and the threats they face.
The EAD’s assessment emphasizes the need to maintain and protect marine ecosystems. The findings emphasize the urgent need for sustainable practices and conservation efforts to ensure the long-term health and viability of precious marine environments.