Yet protecting Saudi Arabia’s biodiversity doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. As Hassan points out, different regions of the Kingdom require distinct effort.
“In the Eastern Province, mangrove restoration is required because many mangrove habitats have been lost. Whereas, in the Western region of the Kingdom, along the Red Sea, mangrove habitats are abundant, but still need on-going protection.”
All told, in the decades since these initiatives began, the company has planted millions of mangrove seedlings.
“A lot of my day-to-day work involves looking for new potential mangrove plantation areas in the Kingdom, as well as documenting existing mangrove forests, as part of the Green Energy Program [at Aramco]. In addition, we also spend a lot of time developing programs for additional plantation efforts that would enhance biodiversity and support carbon capture and storage. And we follow up on and monitor the success of existing projects.”
So far, Hassan says the results of these initiatives have been promising. On Abu Ali Island, the team planted fewer than 100 mangroves initially. Since then, these plants have multiplied prolifically, resulting in a large, flourishing forest.
Hassan also says that his efforts aren't limited to Saudi Arabia. In 2018, Aramco sponsored the protection of mangroves on Haimen Island, in Southeast China's Fujian Province.
Seeing these kinds of results, he says, energizes him to press on.