Residents of Kipini in Lamu have however agreed to work with local authorities in protecting and conserving the area’s threatened mangrove forests.
The residents turned up on Friday to mark the Kipini Mangrove Day which is aimed at promoting awareness of the importance of the trees to the fisheries sector at the coastal strip.
The Kipini mangrove forests together with the Tana River estuary have for long provided a unique ecosystem made up of all nine listed mangrove species in Kenya.
The residents say they were keen to preserve the mangrove trees which form a major breeding ground for fish in the area in order to increase breeding sites and subsequent fish production..
This year’s event was organized by the Ecosystem Alliance together with the Wetland International and was meant to help local communities understand the need for preserving the trees for subsistence benefits while taking into consideration the environmental benefits considering the many fauna that depend on it for survival and habitation.
Speaking at the event, Wetland specialist from the National Land Commission Benard Opaa urged locals to refrain from cutting down mangrove trees and instead aim to conserve and protect them.
Opaa said the Mangrove tree is internationally recognized for its ability to be effective water sources and good fish breeding sites.
“Careless felling of these trees has increased drought spells and reduced resources. Due to that there have been increased conflicts between communities from Tana Delta and Witu.Am calling on all to conserve and preserve these trees. We will have enough food from fish and our environment will be better protected,” said Opaa.
Opaa also cautioned herders against keeping too much livestock on limited land parcels; something he said caused drastic environmental changes including shortage or lack thereof of rainfall in the affected places.
“The environmental changes brought about by human induced factors occasioned by climatic changes has resulted into decreased rainfall and limited pasture due to overstocking of animals within the delta and that has affected the water flow in the delta,”he said.
He called on locals communities to be vigilant and strive to protect the Mangrove tree by all means in order to boost livelihoods.
The fishing community also called on the coastal county governments to show commitment in the initiative by helping conserve the mangrove forest which forms part of their heritage and economic generator.
The mangrove tree has for long been at the verge of extinction especially at the coastal strip owing to continued cutting of the mangrove for firewood, construction, pulp production, charcoal burning and animal fodder by locals.
The event was attended by more than 200 locals and various environmental specialists from around the nation.