The MAP team has arrived in Kenya! We are here with Wetlands International East Africa to teach a mangrove restoration workshop for community members in Lamu County. The workshop aims to enhance understanding of mangrove ecology and stakeholder needs to improve project outcomes for coastlines and communities⁠

Lamu County is home to over 60% of Kenya’s mangroves which are vital ecosystems for the community. They protect against coastal erosion, provide a buffer against storm surges, and are home to many of fish species that are important to local fisheries. Mangroves are directly tied to the culture and heritage of the region with many structures, boats and other amenities being built with mangrove wood. As well as harvesting, Lamu is also losing hundreds of hectares of mangrove forest to make way for the establishment of national projects such as the Lamu Port at Kililana.

Mangrove forests have gained a newfound spotlight in the global conservation movement over the past decade, mainly due to the huge amounts of carbon they can sequester. Sadly, many attempts to restore these valuable ecosystems fail, largely due to a lack of understanding of underlying ecological and social pressures. Mangrove planting initiatives around the world have met an unfortunately high rate of failure.

Our ‘Community-Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration’ (CBEMR) methodology works with nature and takes into account mangrove ecology and biology to restore degraded mangroves by mimicking natural processes. CBEMR involves local stakeholders from the outset which encourages the mitigation of mangrove stressors and the facilitation of natural regeneration where at all possible. Natural regeneration has the advantage of not only producing a more biodiverse mangrove, which increases its resilience to climate change, but also potentially more economical as it avoids the costs of nurseries and planting out.