On a riverbank damaged by carving, Joseph Mwandenge Mangi points to a desolate mangrove tree, a type of forest where the Sabaki River meets the sea.
“This is the last one. There’s nothing left,” said the 42 -year -old Kenyan, who grew up in the estuary and gained knowledge about its flowers and animals.
The living tree is a memorial to local communities working to restore this important ecosystem to health, and repair the iron of the past.
For generations, the villagers living near the Sabaki River have relied on its natural resources for timber and firewood, clean water, seafood, farmland, and timber plants. tradition.
In fact, wetlands are a key player in the face of climate change – conserving carbon, filtering out water pollution, and preventing pollution and pollution. the sea.
But years of non -use have been marred by terrible damage to mangroves, rubble, ponds and sand dunes at the mouth of Kenya’s two longest rivers.
Mangrove trees – which have been harvested for centuries to build traditional Swahili houses – have been cut to feed construction in fast -growing coastal towns such as Malindi, a popular tourist destination.
The locals used to fish a lot in the river, using mosquito nets that caught the smallest sea creatures.
Fertile lands were uprooted and washed down rivers in the Indian Ocean, further reducing fish stocks on Sabaki and destroying coral reefs outside.
“The landscape has changed. In the sun, we have a huge forest with elephants and monkeys,” said Francis Nyale, a 68 -year -old villager, standing in the middle of a cleanup of kumu mangrove gnarled.
Add contact with air
But one tree at a time, the people of the land are bringing it back to life.
Below the Sabaki, where its black waters meet with the blue sea, and flocks of birds fly overhead, a volunteer group plants mangrove trees along the riverbank.
They have planted tens of thousands in recent years, restoring land that has been cleared and helping the re -growth of the vast forest, said Francis Kagema, coastal area manager from the conservation group. care of Nature Kenya.
There are early indications that their work is paying off.
Standing in an old forest, Kagema sees clusters of small green buds bursting from the black soil – signs of a revival, an ecosystem in repair.
“The world is changing, a lot. But for mangroves, their ability to take back … and retain the places they did in the past, it’s very inspiring,” he said. .
These amazing trees provide the earth with plenty of time – mangroves can contain up to five times more carbon than the forests on the land, and they act as a barrier to damage. with stormy seas.
Protecting mangroves is 1,000 times less per kilometer than building sea walls to combat sea level rise, according to the UN Environment Program (UNEP), which supports the Sabaki restoration program.
“Well -watered lands – critical for climate change, climate change, diversity, and human health and well -being – outweigh their burdens in terms of climate change. benefits, ”said Leticia Carvalho, UNEP’s executive director for marine and clean water.
‘Our trees, our heritage’
For local communities, climate change has economic benefits.
UNEP estimates that an acre of mangrove forest can provide between $ 33,000 and $ 57,000 annually in industry.
On Sabaki, local leaders increase their income by leading visitors and school groups to see hippos and birds called the estuary home.
Work is underway to improve the museums, increase traditional cattle management in the forest, and open a pasture for plants.
Assuring the four Sabaki villages of the value of conservation will require vigilant diplomacy and domestic violence, said Mangi, who will lead a community group to restore the estuary.
They’re working with fishermen to get rid of unsustainable practices, and volunteers to catch drug paraphernalia in the stream to keep the criminals in the house to keep everything in place. Page.
“We’re not taking them to the police. We’re talking to them. We want them to know that please, there’s something good in these trees (before they are cut down),” Mangi said.
Jared Bosire, from the Nairobi Convention, a local community organization for the Western Indian Ocean, said the Sabaki community is showing how approaching care can benefit others.
“Hopefully the lessons learned can be replicated elsewhere,” said Bosire, the Convention’s project manager.
More than 80 percent of the mangroves have disappeared in the western Indian Ocean.
For Mangi, there is no community without them: “If we don’t have these trees, we lose our heritage.”
Restoring mangroves has ecological and economic benefits, the report shows
© 2022 AFP
Directions: Kenyans save degraded land with mangroves (2022, April 8) Retrieved 8 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-kenyans-devastated-power- mangroves.html
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