Western Region students monitor mangroves in Al Gharbia
Following on the environmental initiative of planting 600 mangrove saplings on the Al Gharbia coastline last year, students from HCT Madinat Zayed and Ruwais Colleges recently consulted with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi on the issue of future care for the mangroves.
Dr. Himansu Sekhar Das, Unit Head of the Marine Endangered Species and Habitat Department at the Environment Agency visited the colleges to give advice.
Students learned the importance of visiting the mangroves to make sure the area is clear of algae and pollutants and to monitor the growth of the trees. Students will monitor four separate areas on a regular basis and Dr. Das provided an electronic tracking form to exchange data with the agency using students’ iPads. Photos and videos will also be transmitted.
One group of students will also be planting more mangrove saplings in a separate area in the 2013 planting season.
During each monitoring session, students will count the number of trees, and do a sample count of branches and leaves. The results will be indicators of the health of the plants which in turn will be an indicator of the coastline environment. Students will also record and clear algae from around the plants and any debris.
The collated data will be presented at the Madinat Zayed and Ruwais Colleges Research Fairs in April and November, 2013.
Dr. Das said, “We are excited to see the interest of young students for mangrove conservation. It gives us hope. And, it’s good news for UAE natural habitats!”