Mangrove forests store three to five times as much carbon as equivalently sized terrestrial forests. Unfortunately, these habitats are under increasing threats from a variety of human activities, including overharvesting of wood products, conversion to other land uses (such as agriculture, pond aquaculture, and tourism development), climate change, and pollution.
Because of their ability to sequester carbon in coastal environments, these habitats are classified as “blue carbon” ecosystems and can be used to meet national commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Despite these benefits, many countries—including Kenya—do not recognize blue carbon in their commitments, which leaves mangroves vulnerable.
James Kairo will measure the size, productivity, and biodiversity of mangrove forests in Lamu County, Kenya, which contains 70 percent of the country’s mangroves. He will estimate how much carbon these mangrove forests store and the amount of carbon emissions that would result from their loss or degradation. He will also assess the risks of mangrove deforestation at different geographic scales. Kairo will provide this information to the Kenya Forest Service and other agencies, which are considering integrating blue carbon into Kenya’s nationally determined contribution under the Paris accord. This information could affect how mangroves are valued, managed, and protected.
To learn more about Kairo, read his bio: https://www.kmfri.co.ke/index.php/component/comprofiler/userprofile/jkairo?Itemid=158.