• There are between 60 to 70 mangrove species in the world with nine of them found in Kenya.
• Kenya has approximately 60,645 hectares of public mangrove forests found along the coastal line, constituting eight per cent of national forest resources.
The government of France has launched a Sh114 million mangrove trees project following President Emmanuel Macron’s trip to Kenya in March.
Dubbed “Mikoko project” it is aimed at restoring and conserving mangrove forests to ensure environmental sustainability. The project will run for two years.
Conservation secretary Gideon Gathaara, KFS chief conservator Julius Kamau, France Ambassador Aline Kuster-Menager were present on Tuesday during the launch at Kenya Forest Service headquarters.
Officials from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute, French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development and French Agriculture Research Centre for International Development also attended the event.
In November last year, the government announced that it would step up efforts to boost the blue economy. Macron’s trip was aimed at building partnership and corporation in areas related to the blue economy.
The French leader and his host President Uhuru Kenyatta identified the protection of Kenya’s marine environment and the preservation of biodiversity in the Indian Ocean as areas of interest.
Kenya has pledged to restore 5.1 million hectares of degraded land.
Kamau said the partnership between various institutions will provide scientific information and capacity building for sustainable conservation, management and development of mangroves.
Kenya has approximately 60,645 hectares of public mangrove forests found along the coastal line, constituting eight per cent of national forest resources.
There are between 60 to 70 mangrove species in the world with nine of them found in Kenya.
“Mangrove forests play a critical ecological and socio-economic role. Ecologically, the mangroves provide an important habitat and breeding ground for fish and other fauna,”Kamau said.
He said mangroves also protect the shoreline, assimilate waste and sequestrate carbon - a process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Kamau said mangroves continue to face several challenges such as clearing, over harvesting, destruction of coral reefs, pollution and climate change.
“KFS is indeed grateful for the trust and confidence that the Republic of France has bestowed in supporting this project,” he said.
Kamau said 17,000 hectares of degraded land will be restored, in Kenya’s latest bid of increasing the forest cover from the current 7.2 per cent to 10 per cent by 2022.