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Carbon Neutered

Carbon Neutered

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Published by Rory Coen
Rory Coen investigates the Floating Mangroves research project which is about to start at Lusail Marina, Doha. Benno Boer from UNESCO explained what was at stake.
Rory Coen investigates the Floating Mangroves research project which is about to start at Lusail Marina, Doha. Benno Boer from UNESCO explained what was at stake.

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Published by: Rory Coen on May 05, 2013
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09/16/2013

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62 > qatar today > may 2013
affairs> local
 
Carbonneutered
some questionsto be answered infurther researChhow muCh seasurfaCe do we haveavailable in theworld for floatingmangroves?
01
how many tonnesof Carbon Can besequestrated?how muChnitrogen,potassium andphosphate Can betaken out of thewater?
02
howmuCh wouldit Cost?
03
what are the antiCipatedenvironmental impaCtsof thousands andthousands of squarekilometres of thesefloating mangroves? howwould that impaCt thetemperature of the waterunderneath?
04
what otherCoastal areasare suitablefor mangroveplantation,suCh as
sabkhat  
,(salt flats) forexample?
05
development> tag this
 
qatar today > may 2013 > 63
 
expertson biodiversityunderstandtheimmeasurableserviCe thatmangroves providein reduCing Carbon levels in the atmosphere. attempts are being made toConservethem inareas wherethey survivenaturally, are ongoinganda new projeCtsupporting thegrowth offloating mangrovesisnow under wayat lusail marina. theexperimentis thefirst of its kindto investigate theuse offloating mangrovesforCarbonsequestration– the Capturing ofCarbon emissions.
by rory Coen
 
64 > qatar today > may 2013
M
angrove orests are aunique and rich eco-system ound alongintertidal coastlinesat tropical and sub-tropical latitudes.In Qatar, there areapproximately tenmangrove sites concentrated in the east,north and northwest o the country, mostnotably in Al Khor. The plants play a ma- jor role in climate change mitigation: theircarbon sequestration potential is 50 timesgreater than that o tropical orests and 10times that o the temperate orests ound inNorthern Europe. According to research by the United Nations Educational, Scienticand Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), they can absorb up to 1.5 tonnes o carbon peryear per hectare.However, their presence is being com-promised by a number o actors such ascoastal development projects, oil spillagesand pollution by solid waste like plastic,aluminium and glass. Where once they cov-ered 32 million hectares worldwide, they now cover only 15 million. But while theirpresence is declining across the world, andindeed the Gul, places such as Eritrea and Abu Dhabi have dedicated resources to re- versing this trend. It’s hoped that Qatar willollow their lead.“I read in the
Gulf Times 
some monthsago that Qatar has an annual CO2 equiva-lent emission o 85 million tonnes o car-bon,” said Benno Boer, UNESCO’s Ecolog-ical Sciences Adviser or the Arab Region.“However, one hectare o mangroves canonly sequestrate 1.5 million tonnes peryear. So i we extrapolate that, then wecome to the conclusion that in Qatar alone we would need a surace o 600,000 squarekilometres o mangroves to sequestratethe total carbon output o one year. But wecan continue that or about 500 years, be-cause each hectare o mangrove sedimentcan store up to 700 tonnes o carbon inthe sediment.“Awareness, management and conserva-tion plans need to be developed, in order togenerate the needed attention with top-lev-el political support. Abu Dhabi deserves ap-plause, because it is very active in mangrovedevelopment since the 1970s, and is one o the ew countries in the world that actual-ly shows an increase in mangrove cover-age, and this is based on political will andunderstanding,” he continued.
Climate tolerant
These ecosystems can thrive in hot dry cli-mates without any supply o resh waterbecause they are “halophytic“ or seawa-ter-tolerant plants. Qatari-owned company Mourjan Marinas IGY approached UNES-CO last year about the possibility o puttingmangroves into foating containers on their jetty so they wouldn’t have to use resh wa-ter to irrigate them – the seawater couldpercolate up rom below. Their questionintrigued the global agency.“In the past, some have suggested pro-ducing mangroves in inland deserts underseawater irrigation to make the deserts
times greaterthan tropiCalforests andmangrovesCarbonsequestrationpotential istimes that ofthe temperateforestsmillion km2 oCeansurfaCe,but only
i
%
is suitable due totemperature andnutrient availability
Benno Boer,eclgicl Scics avis f h abrgi  UneSCo (hi lf) ss wih h fficils h Lusil mi ls h.
development> tag this

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