Mangrove forests, play a vital role in protecting tropical coastlines. Photo: Ricardo Mangual

WRITTEN BY:Ben Chumba

The Kenya Forest Service has warned that the country risks losing the critical and unique mangrove ecosystem if concerted efforts are not made to reverse degradation and restore the ecosystem.

Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau says out of the 61,000 hectares of mangrove forest in the country, 40 per cent has been destroyed with the country losing about 450 hectares of Mangrove forest annually.

Constituting about 8 percent of the national forest resources in the country, mangroves ecosystems are predominantly found along the coastline from down south at the border town of Vanga in Kwale county, up to Kiunga on the North of Lamu county.  

With this year’s theme being “towards sustainable conservation of mangrove and its efficient use” the Kenya forest service led the country and indeed the rest of the world in marking the International Day for the conservation of the mangrove ecosystem in Lamu county.

Found in five of Kenya’s coastline counties including Kwale, Mombasa, Lamu,Kilifi and Tana River the mangrove ecosystem provides habitats to various amphibious and marine species, serves essential functions to the surrounding communities, and at the same time preserving the environment and biodiversity. 

With at least nine mangrove species available in the country, Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau  warns that the country risks losing the critical and unique mangrove ecosystem if concerted efforts are not made to reverse degradation and restore the ecosystem.

As  some communities living around  the ecosystems continue to depend on the mangrove for building, wood and bee keeping, Kamau says the Kenya forest service have partnered with other stakeholders in the restoration of the ecosystem.

 

 

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