Home » The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi expands native tree-tagging programme

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi expands native tree-tagging programme

by Madaline Dunn

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is expanding its native tree-tagging programme. The Agency aims to tag 100,000 native trees as part of the programme, including Ghaf, Samar, and Sidr trees, all of which naturally thrive in wild habitats and Protected Areas.

It was shared that native trees in Abu Dhabi encounter multiple challenges. Alongside the adversities induced by climate change, pressures also arise from unlawful encroachments, including unauthorised firewood collection and unregulated overgrazing, which have a detrimental impact on the natural regeneration of native tree species.

In collaboration with its strategic partners, EAD has formulated the standards for tree tagging activities, which will now be implemented in expanded areas, including city parks, urban areas, and along roadsides.

Additionally, native trees situated in agricultural zones and tourist sites will be included in the programme, with collaboration and coordination involving the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) and the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT).

The tree-tagging initiative is managed by the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) and collects data on the status of trees, aligning with standards compatible with the databases of the Statistics Center – Abu Dhabi (SCAD).

Commenting on the initiaive, Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, stated: “The Agency has developed this programme in alignment with the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who emphasises the significance of fostering sustainability and safeguarding the country’s environmental and natural systems. This commitment is evident through the extension of the ‘Year of Sustainability’ initiative into 2024, reflecting the intention to build upon the successes of the previous year. This extension underscores the country’s dedication to realising a prosperous and sustainable future for all.”

Ahmed Al Hashemi, Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at EAD explained that within the initial three months since the programme’s initiation in November 2023, EAD tagged over 17,000 trees.

Further, Al Hashemi outlined that EAD has disseminated community awareness messages regarding violations and the associated administrative fines as stipulated in EAD’s Board Resolution No. (2) of 2021, addressing infringements on native trees both within and outside natural reserves.

These messages have also been incorporated into identification tree tags/signs, presented in Arabic, English, and Urdu, affixed to tree trunks.

It was shared that the programme will contribute to enhancing data quality and updating the knowledge repository of relevant authorities concerning the status of native trees.

It will achieve this by gathering comprehensive information specifically designed for utilisation in specialised data collection and geographic linking applications.

These applications are designed to facilitate the direct transfer of field data to EAD’s environmental database, enabling real-time reporting on the programme’s advancements.

The Agency shared that it will collaborate with its partners to execute the electronic coding of native trees situated in forests and along highway belts, totalling over 20 million trees.

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