In September of this year, Mangrove Action Project (MAP) teamed up with Wetlands International -Eastern Africa (WIEA) to run a mangrove restoration workshop on the coast of Tanzania. Tanzania has one of the largest areas of mangroves in Africa, with forests occurring at the land–sea interface of major river estuaries and deltas along the 1,424 km-long coastline. The mangrove forests and the resources they provide are extremely important for nearby communities and local wildlife, yet there is widespread loss and degradation which threatens the mangroves. Deforestation, overexploitation, and conversion to other land uses are just some of the reasons for this loss, leaving Tanzania’s mangroves in poor health and vulnerable to climate change. In order to address these issues and create a sustainable future for the mangroves, MAP and WIEA conducted an in-depth mangrove restoration workshop for local community associations, NGOs, forestry officers and government staff.

“Restoration and conservation of Tanzania’s mangroves is vital for coastal protection, food security and sustainable livelihoods for the community” said Laura Michie, MAPs Program Manager and CBEMR trainer. “This workshop aims to enhance understanding of mangrove ecology and stakeholder needs to improve project outcomes for mangroves and communities⁠”.

In light of the potential for mangroves to also store huge amounts of carbon, these trees are set to play a crucial role in many conservation and restoration projects around the world. “It is great to see so many groups working with mangroves, but it’s vital that restoration work is done right for them to be successful,” said Laura. “Sadly, many attempts to restore these valuable ecosystems fail, largely due to a lack of understanding of underlying ecological and social pressures”.

MAPs CBEMR program seeks to empower local communities to restore and conserve their mangroves while encouraging sustainable mangrove-based livelihoods. CBEMR involves local stakeholders from the outset which is vital for the long-term success of projects. CBEMR aims to reduce mangrove stressors and works with nature to produce a sustainable, biodiverse mangrove forest. 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.