The Sultanate of Oman has been planting hundreds of thousands of mangrove seedlings over the past 17 years.Historical and archaeological evidence indicates that dense mangrove woodlands covered much of Oman's coastline and islands in ancient times. Now efforts to restore the natural mangrove habitat are beginning to bear fruit: Once again they are providing camel fodder, mangrove timber, cleaner air, more productive fishing grounds, resistance to salinity, and protection against tidal storms.Since 2000 the government has been working with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to plant seedlings in seven of the country’s 11 governorates.“This is a pioneering activity that can inspire the development of a region-wide strategy for the management of marine and coastal ecosystems, and its future implementation,” says Kanako Hasegawa, a UN Environment ecosystems expert.The Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME – members are Bahrain, The Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), JICA and UN Environment are working together to support member states on the strategy.Molluscs, crabs and a great variety of fish abound in the numerous Omani creeks, channels, and mudflats associated with this habitat. They shelter among the mangrove roots and feed on leaf detritus.“Over the years people have become more aware of the value and importance of mangrove ecosystems, and have increasingly participated in mangrove seedling plantation efforts.”The government has been protecting existing mangroves, and organizing, coordinating and implementing the planting of seedlings, and conducting awareness-raising campaigns across the country. Re-seeding mangroves in Oman is an uphill task: when the transplantation site is properly selected, 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the seedlings planted mature into trees. Seedlings take five years to grow into trees and start the natural germination process.“Our priority is to conserve existing forests, and expand them by replanting seedlings,” says Aziza Saud Al Adhubi, an environmental planner in the Marine Environment Conservation Department within the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs. The aim of the ambitious long-term project is to plant about 1 million mangrove seedlings. Roughly 700.000 seedlings have been planted so far.