A new scientific study revealed that climate changes were behind the disappearance of most of the mangroves from the coasts of the Sultanate of Oman about 6 thousand years ago, of which only one variety remained.
Environmentalists had previously thought that the disappearance of this type of tree – which is called mangroves in Oman – was due to the low level of sea water and the unfair practices of humans who excessively cut them to exploit their hardwood for their daily purposes.
Heat and rain balance
According to the preliminary results of the study carried out by scientists from the University of Bonn, Germany and published in the journal “Quaternary Research”, the disappearance of these trees was catastrophic, as they collapsed quickly and in an unparalleled way.
The scientists explained that this type of tree – which thrives in the depths of seawater in coastal areas – needs a hot climate in which the surface water temperature does not fall below 24 degrees, and a certain salinity percentage varies from one region to another.
The lead supervisor of the study, Valeska Decker, said in the press release issued by the University of Bonn on January 5 that most of the mangroves (also called coastal groves) are found in rainy areas, because rainwater helps reduce salinity, which is the case in the coasts of Oman Which are hot and rainy areas.
The researcher added that “the disappearance of mangroves in the Oman region is due, according to the results of our preliminary research, to only climatic reasons, contrary to what was suggested by many researchers in the past who said the hypothesis of low seawater and overexploitation of it.”
It seems – according to the study – that the climate changes that the region witnessed have led to a significant increase in the level of sea water salinity, which has caused severe pressure on the mangroves to a degree that they can no longer tolerate.
In parallel, the region witnessed a great scarcity of winter rain, which caused the drying out of the soil surrounding these trees, which were transferred to them by the wind, making the mangrove lakes also become drought and suffocated by this soil, and the result was a slow death in record time.
The lead researcher Valeska confirmed that in the future she will work with her scientific team to research the minute details related to the rates of rainwater decline, and what are the maximum capabilities of mangrove trees to adapt to dry environments, because this will allow – according to the researcher – to transfer the experiment to her country, Germany, which has been for years with seasons. drought.
Cultivation of one million mangrove trees
To recover from this loss, the Omani Ministry of Environment had launched in 2002 a large project in partnership with the Japanese aiming at planting about one million mangroves by 2030, a project that is progressing at a good pace according to the Omani environmental experts who participated in the launch of this project.
In turn, Dr. Ahmed Al-Busaid – an Omani expert in the environment who participated in the launch of this project – said in an e-mail statement to Al-Jazeera Net, “We have succeeded in planting more than 700 thousand mangroves over the past ten years, with the hope of reaching one million trees.”
It seems – according to Dr. Al-Busaid- that saying that the phenomenon of climate change is a reason to explain the disappearance of mangroves is not sufficient, because there is also the human factor, as he said, “It is important to mention that people during the past years had a role in the decrease in the number of mangroves due to the urban expansion on the coast”.