The Amazing Mangroves!
Mangroves constitute the most dominant ecosystems in Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. The mangroves, locally known as “gurm” are represented by a single species – Avicennia marina (The Grey Mangrove).
Mangroves are a nursery ground for polychaetes (bristle worms), crabs, fish insects, mollusks, prawns and shrimps providing food for the birds and other wildlife. These areas are a natural safeguard for the coastal areas protecting the land from waves, floods and storms and stabilize the coastal areas by preventing erosion.
Mangroves are excellent water purifiers! They help maintain the water quality by filtering pollutants and trapping sediment in their root systems.
The carbon rich mangroves and the soils supporting their extensive root systems are key components of what is referred to as “blue carbon sinks”. As such, these aquatic ecosystems are now increasingly recognized for their contribution to addressing our growing climate change issues. The mangroves at RAKWS are the healthiest recorded in the world. The total ecosystem carbon stock of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in 2015 was 347.9 mg/ha, the third largest carbon stock sampled of all mangroves in the UAE.
At Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, a total of 45,000 mangrove seedlings were planted between from 1991 to 1994. The grey mangrove is presently well established and flourishing; producing seedlings and spreading in the upper mid-intertidal zone of the wetlands.