Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem

Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem
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Mangroves provide pastures for camels on islands in the Red Sea that give high-quality nutrition to camels in coastal locations during the winter. (Supplied)
Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem
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Mangroves provide pastures for camels on islands in the Red Sea that give high-quality nutrition to camels in coastal locations during the winter. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 January 2022

Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem

Mangroves: Saudi efforts to protect nature’s guardians of the ecosystem
  • Authorities plan to plant 10 billion mangrove trees across the Kingdom as part of the Saudi Green Initiative

JEDDAH: As part of the Saudi Green Initiative, which was launched last year with the aim of tackling climate change, reducing carbon emissions and improving the environment, 10 billion mangrove trees will be planted across the Kingdom.

Mangroves, ancient coastal plants that grow partly submerged in salt water and thrive in warmer climates around the world, are considered a cornerstone of coastal environmental development and so have a key role to play in achieving the objectives of the initiative.

Ahmed Almansi, a coastal and marine environment consultant at the National Center for Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification, told Arab News that mangroves grow along the coasts of the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.

“This provides an impetus for the center to cultivate more mangroves in these environments,” he added.

According to the center, two types of mangroves commonly grow on the Red Sea coast: Avicennia marina, commonly known as gray or white mangrove, and Rhizophora mucronata, also known as loop-root, red or Asiatic mangrove. They are highly sensitive to cold. 

“Mangroves grow in the form of scattered patches in the intertidal areas of the Red Sea coast and are lower in height in the northern regions,” the center said. “The reason for these differences in height may be the low temperatures that the bushes are exposed to in the northern part of the Red Sea in winter.”

The avicennia marina type of mangroves that grow in the Asir and Jazan regions are the largest found on the Saudi coast, the center said, and “the coastal areas and patches of the Red Sea that contain mangroves in the Kingdom cover an estimated area of about 35,500 hectares.”

There are a number of reasons why mangroves are considered so important to environmental and conservation efforts. They have the ability to absorb pollutants such as heavy metals and other toxic substances from water, which helps to protect seagrass and coral reefs.

FASTFACT

• The trees can protect coastal communities, provide shelter for wildlife, absorb pollution and help to combat climate change.

They also act as natural filters for sewage, preventing pollutants originating on land from reaching deep waters. And the trees help to mitigate the effects of climate change as they can absorb larger amounts of carbon from the atmosphere compared with other tropical trees.

Mangroves also form “green barriers” that serve as a first line of defense for coastal communities, protecting them from damage caused by storms and waves, preventing erosion and helping to stabilize beaches.

“These green barriers absorb at least 70 to 90 percent of wave energy generated by the winds,” said Almansi. “They are also able to reduce the intensity of tsunami waves by mitigating the catastrophic amount of wave energy associated with them, which helps reduce the loss of life and property damage.”

In addition, mangroves act as shelters and incubators for many species of fish, crustaceans and birds, providing them with a good source of nutrition. They provide nesting and resting locations for many types of resident and migratory birds, strong communities of which are considered a biological indicator of ecosystem quality. The National Center for Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification has identified 125 species that use mangrove habitats at some point in their life cycles.

Land-based animals also benefit from mangrove swamps. They provide pastures for camels on islands in the Red Sea, and provide high-quality nutrition for camels in coastal locations during the winter.

Despite their clear environmental benefits, mangroves are under threat globally from urbanization, encroachment, overgrazing, pollution, the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and the improper disposal of waste. The development of the tourism industry is another significant threat. But efforts are being made in Saudi Arabia to preserve and enhance this precious natural resource.

“The center is planting mangroves to rehabilitate these environments, using 60 cm long seedlings,” Almansi said, adding that nylon nets are used temporarily to protect the young plants, prevent seaweed and waves from damaging them, and encourage strong root growth and stability.


Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’

Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’

Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’
  • Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji said the KSA’s foreign policy attaches great importance to enhancing security and stability

RIYADH: A Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed Wednesday that the Kingdom had taken crucial steps to enhance food security, put forward strategies to promote food growth and face climate change and water scarcity. 

Waleed Al-Khuraiji, Saudi deputy minister of foreign affairs, said these measures contributed to improving food security indicators in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the Global Food Security Call to Action meeting at the United Nations on Wednesday, Al-Khuraiji said that the food security challenge proves that sustainable recovery depends on international cooperation.

He said despite progress in the development process, achieving the 2030 SDG (social development goals) had become extremely difficult, as global expectations and indicators show a deviation in the path towards achieving the second goal of the program, which includes the eradication of hunger.

“Among the global health challenges are the spread of pandemics, as the spread of the COVID-19 revealed to us the fragility of the international system in combating a virus that is not visible to the naked eye, which led to severe consequences that affected societies and economies,” Al-Khuraiji said, adding  that this affected people’s lives, their livelihood and declining economic indicators.

He said Saudi Arabia led a global response to the pandemic that accompanied the Kingdom’s G20 presidency, as it supported global efforts to confront this pandemic with $500 million, in addition to providing $300 million to help countries’ efforts to address the pandemic.

“The Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 focused within sustainable development efforts on building a sustainable agricultural sector, strengthening sectors that support food systems, developing systems and improving agricultural productivity, and worked to strengthen research and innovation capabilities to ensure sustainable progress in food security,” Al-Khuraiji said.

In this regard, he said Saudi Arabia presented crucial initiatives to the region and the world, and had created a road map for facing environmental challenges. These intuitive include the Saudi Green Initiative the Middle East Green Initiative, and the circular carbon economy initiative.

Al-Khuraiji said the  Kingdom’s foreign policy attached great importance to enhancing security and stability, supporting dialogue and peaceful solutions, and providing conditions that support development and achieve people’s aspirations for a better tomorrow, weather in the Middle East or the world.

He added Saudi Arabia had always reiterated its commitment to helping the disadvantaged and countries hit by natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

“The Kingdom is the largest donor of humanitarian and development aid at the Arab and Islamic levels, and is one of the top three donors at the international level,” he said. 


Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation
  • Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid says the meeting was organized upon Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives

RIYADH: Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of defense, on Wednesday met the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Washington, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The pair reviewed the Saudi-US partnership, and ongoing and future strategic military and defense cooperation between the Kingdom and US.

Prince Khalid expressed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation for the close cooperation between the two countries' defense bodies to achieve the two sides’ common interests and enhance security and peace regionally and internationally.

 

 

He also said that the meeting was organized based on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives.

Prince Khalid and US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, then, co-headed the Saudi-US joint strategic planning committee meeting.

The Saudi and US defense delegations join a photo session after their meeting in Washington on May 18, 2022. (SPA)

The meeting discussed regional and international developments, and a number of issues on defending common interests and global security and stability.

The meeting was attended by Gen. Fayyadh bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Saudi Chief of General Staff, and other Saudi and US senior officials.


Saudi foreign minister meets Algerian counterpart during official visit

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra. (SPA)
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi foreign minister meets Algerian counterpart during official visit

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra on Wednesday evening, during his official visit to Algeria.
During the meeting, they reviewed the solid historical relations linking the two countries and ways of developing them in all fields.
The two sides also discussed enhancing joint cooperation in many aspects, the latest regional and international developments, and issues of common interest.
Lamamra hosted a dinner in honor of Prince Faisal and his accompanying delegation.
The foreign minister had arrived in the Algerian capital earlier on Wednesday.


Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia

Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia
Updated 18 May 2022

Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia

Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia
  • The event will highlight the significance of the ancient sport and the Kingdom’s efforts to advance it through local and international forums

RIYADH: An international event to celebrate the history of purebred Arabian horses is set to get underway in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the Horse Racing Club, will on May 25 patronize the launch of the second edition of the five day Kahila championship meeting.

Organized by the King Abdulaziz center for purebred Arabian horses, the event will be staged at the Riyadh Front Exhibition and Convention Center and will highlight the significance of the ancient sport and the Kingdom’s efforts to advance it through local and international forums.


73 held after Saudi patrols intercept illicit drug hauls

73 held after Saudi patrols intercept illicit drug hauls
Updated 18 May 2022

73 held after Saudi patrols intercept illicit drug hauls

73 held after Saudi patrols intercept illicit drug hauls
  • The authorities thwarted attempts to smuggle 682 kilograms of hashish, 62.3 tons of khat and 194,300 amphetamine tablets

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 73 people after border patrols foiled massive drug smuggling attempts in several regions of the Kingdom.

Col. Misfir Al-Qarini, spokesman for the General Directorate of Border Guard, said that land patrols in the Jazan, Najran, Asir and Tabuk regions thwarted attempts to smuggle 682 kilograms of hashish, 62.3 tons of khat and 194,300 amphetamine tablets.

The seized drugs were handed over to authorities and legal steps taken against those detained, he added.

Among the alleged violators were 20 Saudi citizens, 26 Ethiopians, 23 Yemenis, two Pakistanis, one Sudanese and one Eritrean.