The Arabian Gulf has waters that are some of the world’s most saline; and where water temperatures often reach as high as 35 degrees Celsius during the hot summer months. Despite these harsh realities, the waters of the Gulf contain a variety of aquatic plants and animals.
The Gulf state of Qatar has mangrove forests that are in danger of being damaged or destroyed by developers who want to “eat up the shorelines” according to The Gulf Times.
Efforts are now being made to preserve and restore these natural buffers from severe storms; and which also provide havens for birds, fish and other animals.
Studies also indicate that mangrove forests may store up to eight times more carbon than tropical rain forests.
Ajmal Khan, Qatar’s Shell Professor in Sustainable Development and Professor at the Department of International Affairs at Qatar University told the paper that mangroves are comprised of species of plants that can withstand the harsh weather conditions in Qatar.
He explained that the mangrove’s root systems anchor the plants into the underwater sediment, thereby slowing down incoming tidal waters and allowing organic and inorganic material to settle into the sediment surface.
Replanting of Qatar’s mangrove forests is being accomplished by volunteer university students planting seeds in designated areas to enable new mangroves to grow in locations like Purple Island (on the outskirts of Al Dhakira). The students, who undertook this project on their own, called it their “Mangrove Restoration Campaign”.
Other Arab Gulf states with mangrove forests include Abu Dhabi, whose Bu Tinah Atoll wildlife refuge. Another mangrove forest site, near Dubai, is said to have become so prolific that camels may be employed to chomp down runaway mangrove forests.
Whether the issues involve trying to perserve these natural wildlife habitats and coastal area preserves, as in the case of Qatar; or managing the size of them, as in the case of Dubai, it is a wonder that these aquatic forests can survive as well as they do in such an extreme climate area as the Arabian Gulf.
Read more on mangrove forest habitats in the Arabian Gulf: