1887

Abstract

Mangroves are halophyte trees, able to survive in intertidal areas, an interaction zone between land and sea. In Qatar, the only mangrove species able to survive the very high levels of salinity and the extreme climatic conditions is Avicennia marina. Creating a space of green that highly contrasts with the surrounding barren landscapes, mangroves bring many ecological and environmental benefits to Qatar. Firstly by being essential for many living species, who may find there shelter, food and breading areas. They also benefit to neighboring ecosystems to which they are closely linked. Secondly, they bring many ecosystem services to human societies, as they help in stabilizing and protecting coastlines, acting as strategic greenbelts and buffer areas against diverse environmental threats, as well as reducing the negative effects of greenhouse gases. Mangroves are crucial for human societies as they hold a major socioeconomic part, mostly because they are shelters and breeding areas of many commercial species. They may as well be used in daily life for different uses such as charcoal, firewood, construction or farming. Mangroves can also be used more indirectly for ecotourism, recreational activities or just for spiritual decompression. This study’s aim is to find out the reasons and the ways to ensure the survival of Qatari mangroves along with the current development of the country. The study was based on available literature, several field visits, GIS maps, interviews and personal communications with specialists and/or governmental people. Yet, Qatar has recently witnessed a significant development. Anthropic pressures as well as demographic and urban explosion are a global threat for the country’s mangroves, directly or indirectly, as they know an important decrease for most of them henceforth. Mangroves are therefore being cut down and destroyed, beside many hydrodynamic and coastal changes, which have also led to the disappearance of many wetlands that used to be found along the coasts and in the intertidal zone. The reported direct threats are mainly due to urban development, industrialization and the growth of the population. In certain areas mangroves are being replaced by diverse constructions such as hotels, residential areas, coastal projects, ports, airports, corniche, roads or industries. One of the most important irresponsible human activities is made by off-road cars that go on the shores or even directly through the trees, damaging the plants as well as the pneumatophores and seedlings in addition to disturb the fauna living there and alter the forest’s hydrology and nutrient status. Activities such as scuba diving, yachting, cruising and anchoring causes direct degradation of mangrove ecosystems. It is a common activity in Qatar to journey among the mangrove trees by foot, boats or canoes. However, this uncontrolled flow of people may harm the mangroves by trampling and breaking the sites, disturbing the species, or leaving waste around. A good example can be found in the mangrove of Purple Island (North East of Al-Khor). Another important threat is due to waste disposal and the inefficient management to collect it, dispose of it or recycle it. Eutrophication due to sewage runoff or pipe leaks was encountered in many locations of Mangrove ecosystems. This eutrophication may lead to the spread of toxic algae which may spread into mangrove areas, or at least exhaust O2 and create anaerobic environment killing many forms of life including mangrove seedlings. However, Qatar is committing itself more and more to environmental issues and many protection and conservation measures have been taken, especially these last few years. But there are still many gaps and agreement measures do not always seem effective on field. The main problem in Qatar remains the lack of will due to a deficiency in environmental awareness and interest towards the mangroves by the local population as well as by the authorities.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qproc.2015.qulss2015.37
2015-12-07
2019-08-22
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http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/papers/10.5339/qproc.2015.qulss2015.37
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  • Received: 07 Dec 2015
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