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The environmental legacy: Abu Dhabi’s mangrove conservation

Environmental protection was in Abu Dhabi's DNA, says Australian researcher Dr. Ronald Loughland, who helped spearhead the emirate's mangrove plantation assignment.

Environmental protection was in Abu Dhabi’s DNA, says Australian researcher Dr. Ronald Loughland, who helped spearhead the emirate’s mangrove plantation assignment.

Preservation Through Commitment:

During the early 90s, amid global environmental concerns, Abu Dhabi stood out with its staunch dedication to mangrove conservation. 

Although lighthearted, the jest that disturbing even a single mangrove leaf could lead to jail time encapsulated the emirate’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding these vital ecosystems, even before climate change became a focal point.

A Unique Commitment:

Australian researcher Ronald Loughland, who arrived in Abu Dhabi as a young PhD student in 1993, found himself captivated by the rulers’ extraordinary dedication to protecting mangroves. 

At a time when these ecosystems faced global destruction, Abu Dhabi stood as a beacon with increasing mangrove areas, a testament to the plantation initiatives.

Remarkable Growth:

Mr. Loughland highlighted that from 1990 to 2021, Abu Dhabi witnessed a remarkable 50% expansion in its mangrove forests, a significant achievement amid global habitat decline.

Planting the Seeds of Change:

In his role as an environmental consultant over the last three decades, Dr. Loughland claims to have been involved in planting millions of mangroves in Abu Dhabi during the 90s. 

He attributes this success to the rulers’ profound commitment to environmental conservation, which runs deep within the emirate’s ethos.


Abu Dhabi’s remarkable journey in mangrove conservation, marked by an extraordinary increase in mangrove areas, owes its success to the visionary leadership’s unwavering dedication. 

The emirate’s commitment to environmental preservation has set an exemplary standard, reflecting its earnest efforts to protect and nurture vital ecosystems in the face of global environmental challenges.

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