Oman’s government has been restoring mangroves at rapid speed, a valuable natural resource for their crucial role in the global environmental ecosystem but also for their integral part in capturing carbon. The ultimate goal is to eliminate CO2 emissions while generating $150 million economic benefits through carbon credits, reports AFP.
1. Restoring mangroves
Mangroves were widespread in Oman 6,000 years ago, but climate change has dictated the extinction of most of its species, with only one kind existing today, the Avicennia Marina. They are found along the coastline stretching from North al Batinah to Dhofar. This area covered by mangroves expands around 1,000 hectares.
Twenty years ago, there wasn’t a single mangrove standing in Al-Sawadi creek, a resort town near Muscat. Today, it’s a forest stretching over 4 kilometers with 88 hectares of hangover cover. The mangrove restoration project has developed gradually, inspired by the late ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a renowned conservationist, who died in 2020.
2. Carbon sinks
These particular kinds of tree are highly effective carbon sinks, playing an essential role in sequestering and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. They boast several mechanisms that contribute to their carbon sequestration ability, including photosynthesis, sediment trapping, slow decomposition, and peat formation. Mangrove habitats can remove CO2 from the atmosphere faster than forests and store it in the soil and sediment for longer periods.
Over the past two years, the country has been restoring the coastal forest of these carbon-busting trees. So far, the Gulf nation has planted more than 3.5 million seeds of mangroves. This includes a record 2 million trees this year.
Mangroves are found in several areas along the Omani coast, including the southern region of Dhofar and other coastal areas in the north and east, such as Muscat, Ras al Hadd, Ras Al Jinz, and the Daymaniyat Islands.
3. Oman Blue Carbon
Through its Environment Authority (EA), the Middle East country, forged a deal with MSA Green Projects last month to launch the Oman Blue Carbon — a project that seeks to cultivate 100 million mangrove trees in the country aiming to produce carbon credits. The initiative aligns with the Sultanate’s National Zero Carbon Strategy 2050, which outlines the country’s ambitions to reach net zero emissions.
Oman’s contract with MSA Green Projects to grow 100 million trees over 4 years would remove 14 million metric tons of CO2. In turn, the country would have the opportunity to earn $150 million in carbon credit benefits.
As part of the agreement, Oman’s government is set to transform 20,000 hectares of coastal land into mangrove habitats. The amount of carbon offset credits produced by the project would be measured against Oman’s baseline emissions — 90 metric tons in 2021.