Global loss of mangroves has limited one of nature’s best ecosystems for balancing the carbon cycle. In Saudi Arabia, mangrove loss has also had knock-on effects for biodiversity and coastal protection – exposing the land to the impact of storms and sea-level rise and removing vital nursery grounds for fisheries that support the Kingdom’s food security.
Aramco has been working with the Saudi National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and the Research Institute at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals to re-establish mangrove forests.
The company began to restore Avicennia marina mangrove ecosystems in 1993 and has continued to plant millions of mangrove trees, helping to restore these natural carbon sinks.
Mangroves sequester up to five times more carbon than land-based trees, absorbing it faster and retaining it for much longer. The company’s scientists have developed new germination and acclimatization techniques that ensure that the new additions have a significant survival rate, despite the salty waters and harsh climate of the Arabian Gulf. Planting mangrove forests provides a living defence against the impacts of climate change by preventing erosion and stabilising coastlines.
Over the course of 2020 Aramco set a new company record, planting 3 million mangroves trees and developing additional mangrove nurseries as part of its on-going commitment towards turning the tide on climate change.
Aramco estimates that each Avicennia marina planted will absorb up to 1.5 tonnes of carbon over an average lifespan of 60 years.