Ecotourism boost as UAE nature reserve set to double in size

Al Zorah Natural Mangrove Reserve in Ajman. Photo: Al Zorah City

Al Zorah City in the United Arab Emirates is pledging to plant hundreds of thousands of mangrove trees in its natural reserve in Ajman in support of the UAE’s commitment to plant 100 million trees in anticipation of the upcoming 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties COP28.

The initiative is a commitment from Al Zorah City, a joint venture between the Government of Ajman and Solidere International PLC, the leading real estate master developer in Ajman, and in support of the UAE’s efforts to expand the mangrove forests.

The initiative also hopes to further advance endeavours of national institutions concerned with environmental responsibility and raise awareness of environmental sustainability issues, development of a biodiverse system, and the increase of carbon dioxide throughout the life cycle of trees.

Al Zorah City is the first real estate developer to commit to double the size of the protected Al Zorah Natural Reserve over the next year.  Al Zorah currently houses more than 500,000 trees responsible for producing millions of litres of oxygen per day. Spanning more than 1 million square metres and harbouring more than 200 species of native and migratory birds, the expansion symbolises the UAE’s commitment to environmental stewardship and Ajman’s dedication to promoting sustainability locally and globally. 

His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the Al Zorah City Board of Directors, said: “Al Zorah Mangrove Natural Reserve is a treasured part of our community in Ajman. We are pleased to announce our initiative for 2023, which strives to increase our green footprint in the Emirate and support the UAE in its long-term sustainability targets and the upcoming highly anticipated COP28.

“Al Zorah City has consistently prioritised proactive environmental action as a core company ethos, ensuring that our projects cause no harm to the beautiful local environment. We promote an environmentally sound approach to living and to make the city a prominent destination for eco-tourism in Ajman. We will continue to directly support the efforts made by the Emirate to promote sustainability locally and globally, reduce harmful carbon emissions and transition to renewable energies.”

His Highness also affirmed that Al Zorah City will continue to preserve environmental diversity, in line with the vision and legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who made great strides in promoting environmentalism, wildlife and biodiversity, and enhancing its resources through sustainability, care and preservation of ecosystems. His Highness encourages the nation and institutions to support national strategies related to climate action and the environment.

His Highness further noted that the UAE takes pride in being the first Arab country to sign the Paris Climate Agreement and is the first country in the MENA region to formulate a climate neutrality strategy by 2050.

Mangrove forests are a vital part of the community in Ajman. Home to a multitude of different species of native and migratory birds, wildlife and plantation, mangroves are known for their green footprint and ability to naturally absorb and store excess carbon dioxide from the environment five times more efficiently as compared to traditional land forests. They play a crucial role in carbon sequestration, storing significant amounts of carbon and helping mitigate climate change. Mangroves also enhance water quality by filtering debris and providing coastal regions with mechanical protection from natural disasters.

The initiative aims to double the daily production of oxygen from mangrove; this abundance of oxygen is crucial for sustaining all forms of life on earth and reinforces Al Zorah City’s efforts in promoting a healthier and more sustainable future for the residents of Al Zorah City and the Emirate of Ajman.

Sustainability in the UAE has been a fundamental concept for both the country’s leadership and its citizens since the early days. The UAE government has demonstrated its commitment to environmental sustainability and the importance of mangrove ecosystems, with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) spearheading many environmental initiatives across the UAE.  COP28 seeks to prioritise efforts in accelerating emissions reductions through a pragmatic energy transition, reform land use, and transformation in food systems. Expansion of the Mangrove Forest will allow for more ecotourism and public education about the environment and its protection. It will aid the UAE government in continuing the nation’s sustainability trends.

About Al Zorah City

The Al Zorah area is considered one of the UAE’s most spectacular tourist destinations in the Emirate of Ajman. Major attractions in the area include developments in luxury resorts on the seashore overlooking the Arabian Gulf and an 18-hole championship golf course. Walkways, shopping sites, restaurants and cafes, luxury hotels, a marina, and apartments on the banks of the creek, also make for fun for the whole family. In addition, the area includes the Al Zorah Nature Reserve, one of the most beautiful natural features in the Emirate of Ajman.

It is an ideal destination for lovers of ecological and natural tourism and mangroves, which provide a suitable environment for residents and migratory birds. The abundance of natural water allows for the various plants, tree species to thrive, and an abundant ecosystem consisting of huge groups of fish and coral reefs.