On 21st April 2016, Kiunga and Pate Community Conservancies celebrated national tree planting day and world earth day by planting 20,000 mangrove seedlings. In partnership with the Kenya Forest Service, the event aimed to support national reforestation and conservation efforts by targeting degraded areas of mangrove forest in Kiunga and Pate islands in Lamu County. Lamu County Governor Hon. Issa Timmamy joined the community members and guests at the event in Kiunga Community Conservancy. In his speech, he thanked Kiunga and Pate Marine Community Conservancies for their role in conservation, and pledged to support the conservancies’ development and conservation efforts, emphasizing that Lamu is highly dependent on a healthy environment. Also present for the special ceremony were representatives from the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Police, Fisheries Department, County Government and County Commissioner’s Office.
The communities in both conservancies pledged to protect the seedlings. The two conservancies also planted 20,000 seedlings last year, and are closely monitoring their survival.
The mangrove forests of Lamu account for 67% of national mangrove forest cover. Just like other forest types, mangroves provide a vital habitat for marine life, help combat climate change, and are vital for coastal protection by acting as a buffer during storms. Mangroves are under threat due to unregulated harvesting and development.
“Within Pate-Kiunga area, our aim is to put more mangrove forest conservation efforts in areas that are experiencing high cutting pressure and other forms of degradation”, Said Hassan Yussuf Hassan, Conservancy Development Officer for NRT-Coast.
Support from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) towards this event is highly appreciated.
By Hassan Yussuf Hassan and George Maina