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It Takes A Village: Restoring our mangroves Community-led mangrove forest restoration in the Kenyan coast

Kenya is known for its rich coastal ecosystems which include extensive mangrove forests. They are the heart of coastal ecosystems and are known as the “rainforests by the sea” as they grow in brackish wetlands between land and sea where other plants cannot grow.
It Takes A Village: Restoring our mangroves Community-led mangrove forest restoration in the Kenyan coast

By Mikoko Pamoja
https://www.mikokopamoja.org/

Kenya is known for its rich coastal ecosystems which include extensive mangrove forests. They are the heart of coastal ecosystems and are known as the “rainforests by the sea” as they grow in brackish wetlands between land and sea where other plants cannot grow. These magnificent trees are salt-tolerant enabling them to withstand and survive in the severe coastal conditions that would kill most plants. Mangroves provide coastal habitat with numerous benefits :

However, according to the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Forest, the coastal region has lost nearly 20% of its mangrove cover between 1985 and 2009, an estimated 450 hectares of mangrove forest lost per year. The ecosystem is threatened by coastal development, population pressure, deforestation for the use of firewood for fuel, poor governance, aquaculture, agriculture and climate change related factors such as rise in sea level and increased sedimentation. These factors have led to serious consequences to this fragile ecosystem by reducing its resilience to mitigate climate change effects. Mangroves are significant for biodiversity and blue carbon as they can hold up to five times more carbon than terrestrial forests per hectare. Therefore, the urgency to maintain a balance between the needs of the local communities and preserving the remaining mangrove ecosystem has forced a number of organizations along the coastline to take immediate action.

Several organizations and initiatives are working towards mangrove conservation in Kenya. The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) plays a crucial role in studying and monitoring mangroves. Coupled with other orgnizations such as Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and local community groups actively engaging in mangrove restoration, replanting in degraded areas and raising awareness about their importance and alternative livelihood to reduce their dependance on mangrove resources.

Courtesy of https://www.mangrovealliance.org/mikoko-pamoja/

Mikoko Pamoja, translated to Kiswahili means Mangroves Together highlighting the collaborative and inclusive nature of the initiative. Founded in 2012 as a partnership between the local community, scientists, and conservation organizations. They work hand in hand with KFS (Kenya Forestry Service) and KMFRI (Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute to carry out research in marine and aquatic environments. This community-driven mangrove conservation and restoration project in the southern Kenyan coast of Gazi Bay is the world's first blue carbon project using mangrove trees as their domain, which aims to conserve mangroves through the sale of carbon credits. Its main goal is to empower local communities to actively participate in mangrove conservation and sustainable management. They have so far captured 20,000 tons of CO2, planted over 50,000 trees, and conserved 117 hectares of mangrove.

Targeted Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

Partners:

  • Association for Coastal Ecosystem Services
  • Earthwatch Institute
  • Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation
  • Plan Vivo Foundation
  • Kenya Forest Services (KFS)
  • Kenya Marine & Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI)

It goes without show that Mikoko Pamoja initiative continues to successfully conserve the enviornment as well as engage the community. The role each individual plays in


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Contact: mikoko_pamoja@gmail.com