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Mangrove Planting in Kilifi County

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry through Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) has planted more than 40,000 mangroves seedlings in MidaCreeK and 60,000 propagules at Ngomeni, Magarini Sub-county in the past two weeks as part of the government’s initiative of achieving 10per cent forest cover by 2022.

The exercise which began on 31st January, 2021 was officially launched byEnvironment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, KeriakoTobiko on2nd February, 2021 during this year’s World Wetland Day at Sabaki Estuary themed “Wetlands and Water”. ‘The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Action Plan for Kenya 2018-2023’ and ‘The Sixth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity’, were unveiled at the event.

During mangrove planting in Mida Creek,KEFRI Director, Dr. Joshua Cheboiwo thanked the community for participating in the exercise and pledged the institute’s support especially in ensuring payment for all mangrove seedlings picked for planting from the community groups, ensuring species site matching and identification of diseases that attack mangroves.

“The Institute is ready to work round the clock to ensure rehabilitation and conservation of mangroves. This mangrove planting exercise will continue throughout the year as part of the government’s initiative to achieve 10 per cent tree cover in the country,” Dr.Cheboiwo said.

CS KeriakoTobiko during the World Wetlands Day celebrations at Sabaki estuary

“We have already attained 7.2 per cent forest cover and we will be planting 45million seedlings in every county so as to attain the recommended 10 per cent cover after identifying suitable areas for planting such as schools, government land and private farms,” he added.

Coast Eco - Region Research Programme Regional Director Dr. Linus Wekesa said KEFRI has been doing research to establish drivers of degradation in the mangrove ecosystems. He further added that the Institute is also determining tipping points in the mangrove ecosystem where ecosystem functioning has been irreparably damaged.

“We are developing sound restoration practices in relation to the levels and drivers of degradation; quantifyingthe carbon stock in mangrove ecosystems exhibiting different levels of degradation and establishing offtake levels to guide in management planning and utilization of the mangrove resources,” Dr.Wekesa said.

Mangrove planting at Mida creek

In Kenya, wetlands occupy approximately three to four percent of the country’s landmass. About 60% of Mangrove forests occur in Lamu County (37,350 ha), followed by Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Mombasa counties respectively. In Mida creek, approximately 8.8ha have been degraded between 1969 and 2010.

Dr. Wekesa added that using the developed technologies, KEFRI has rehabilitated more than 50ha in degraded sites at Mida, Lamu, Miritini, Mwache& Vanga over the last 15 years. More than 15ha have been rehabilitated in Mida creek since 2013. The institute in collaboration with Kenya Forest Service (KFS), BidiiYetunaKazi Women group, Jitahidi Women Group and Mida Creek Conservation, Fishing and Awareness Group will continue with the exercise until 200,000 mangrove seedlings are planted by March 2021.

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