Qatar’s mangroves: why they matter to climate change

Mangroves are one of the few plants that can withstand Qatar’s harsh desert conditions. Neil Palmer (CIAT).

Mangroves are one of the few plants that can withstand Qatar’s harsh desert conditions. Neil Palmer (CIAT).

Indonesian scientist Daniel Murdiyarso and Lebanese scientist Mohamad Khawlie are spending the morning hopping over muddy streams, tasting salty leaves, and examining aerial root systems.

Just 60 kilometres from Doha but a world away from the air-conditioned unreality of the Qatar National Convention Centre where the UN climate talks are taking place, Murdiyarso and Khawlie are exploring Qatar’s northeastern coastline, indulging a shared passion – for mangroves.

“Mangroves have been here in the Arab Gulf since ancient times,” says Khawlie, an environmental consultant with the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI).

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