Mangroves in Kuwait
Geographically, Kuwait occupies proximately 17.800 km² of the northwestern part of Arabian Gulf, between 28° 05’ and 30° 05’ N and 48° 33’ and 48° 35’East, with a nearly 290 km long coastline (Abou-ElNile et a1., 2001). The geomorphology of Kuwait’s marine environment is characterized by a shallow shelf of a depth less than 30m, and the depth tends to increase in the southeasterly direction (Subandar et al,2001) One of the important features of this ecosystem is Kuwait Bay, an elliptical engulfment protruding westward from the Gulf waters; with a depth mostly between 0 and 10m. Like on other part of the gulf area, the morphology of the marine environment favors the formation of a highly sedimentary environment, providing suitable habitats for sea grasses and algae. Soft substrate habitats ( mudflats ), which constitute nearly 57% of the Kuwait coast and spread around.
The northern area (Bubiyan Island to Kuwait Bay), are Biologically, highly productive areas as large populations of mudskipper fish, crabs, gastropods and shrimp exist here.
In response to the desire of his highness the Amir, Kuwait initiated an extensive 20 years National Greenery Plan (NGP) covering approximately 20.000 ha of open spaces (KISR, 1996). The main goal of this plan is to protect and enhance the livability of the environment and to promote sustainable use of natural resources in the country. Introduction mangroves could play a major role in achieving the NGP goals I the intertidal areas of the mainland and the islands. A forestation with mangroves in the intertidal flats would increase green cover, enrich marine fauna and enhance the aesthetic and recreational value of the coastal areas. In areas where shoreline erosion is a problem, mangrove plantations would provide reasonable protection from tidal waves. And contributed to the accumulation of sediments.
Attempts to introduce mangroves to Kuwait were first made in the 1960’s through cooperation with food and Agriculture Organization, and again between 1978 and 1980, but were not successfully established ( Firmin, 1968;Kong and trusruda, 1996). In view of the beneficial effects of mangroves in the intertidal mudflats, KISR initiated systematic research in 1992 to establish the technical feasibility for the introduction of mangroves (Abou-Elnile et al.,2001). In the recently completed study, which was undertaken in cooperation with the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources, efforts were made to standardize mass propagation and cultural practices for growing mangroves under the harsh climatic conditions of Kuwait and to asses the environmental impact of the introduction of Mangroves (Bhat et al., 2002).
References: Growing Mangroves for enrichment of Kuwait’s coastline – N.R. Bhat, A.Al-Nasser, M. K. Suleiman & L. Al-Mulla, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, 2003