Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in conjunction with Eden Reforestation project has so far planted over 3.8 million mangrove propagules covering an area of 475 hectares.
The ongoing rehabilitation initiative started in March is undertaking rehabilitation of degraded mangrove swamps in Kipini, Ozi, Kilelengwani and Chara in Tana Delta Sub-County.
Tana River County acting Ecosystem Conservator Jaffer Galole said the milestone was made possible due to concerted efforts between KFS, Eden Reforestation project and community forest associations who are undertaking the planting.
“The communities in the mangrove swamp areas are receiving some wages disbursed every month as incentives towards forest conservation from our partners Eden Reforestation,’’ Galole said.
The Tana River County has the second most extensive patch of mangrove forest after Lamu County according to the Kenya Forest Service. Galole said mangrove conservation faced some challenges in the county due to illegal harvesting and over exploitation of wood products and human settlement encroachment due to increase in population.
“Poor land use systems upstream which result in sedimentation of mangrove areas which covers the breathing roots of the trees causing death. Climate change is projected to result into sea level rise, thereby affecting mangrove growth’’ he said.
To mitigate the degradation of mangrove forests, Galole revealed that they have conducted capacity building sessions with community forest associations on the importance of mangrove conservation and good land use systems to reduce sedimentation in mangrove areas.
“We are also enforcing the forest conservation and management act to curb cases of illegal harvesting of mangroves,’’ said Galole.
According to KFS, Kenya has nine species of mangroves, which follow a typical zonation pattern. Sonneratia alba grows closest to the low water line, Rhizophora mucaranta, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza among other species.
Mangrove forests are a habitat for a number of marine and terrestrial fauna and also contribute to the food chain that supports fisherfolk.
The international day for the conservation of mangroves will be marked on July 26 in Tudor Creek, Mombasa County.
By Sadik Hassan