The challenges of sustainable conservation and management of mangrove forests in Kenya
There is a scarcity of contextual information on the current status and challenges facing the sustainable management of mangroves. Using a literature review, this study explores this problem in the case of Kenya's mangrove sites, with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of the strategies needed to promote their sustainable conservation and management. The results indicate that Kenya's mangrove forests span approximately 62,459.8 hectares, accounting for roughly 3.0% of the overall natural forest cover or less than 1.0% of the country's total land area. The majority of mangroves, constituting about 59%, are found in Lamu County. The country has nine species of mangroves, with Rhizophora mucronata and Ceriops tagal being the dominant species. Even though these resources provide many ecosystem goods and services, mangroves are still being threatened by human-induced changes. Fortunately, the government appears to be strongly committed to conserving these critical resources and has established a positive environment for restorative actions. The development of the National Mangrove Ecosystem Management Plan (2017-2027) and the recognition of private sector-led incentive-based Payment for Ecosystem Services initiatives such as the Mikoko Pamoja Project provide renewed impetus for improved management of mangroves. Even though more studies are required, the success of the Mikoko Pamoja project serves as an inspiring example to the world of how community involvement in innovative incentive-based approaches can contribute to the preservation and sustainable use of mangroves.