After decades of mangrove tree harvesting, three villages on Kenya’s southeastern coast are on a mission to mitigate this environmental destruction. Doing so aims to reduce ocean-related catastrophes and protect against climate change. This has been made possible through their Vanga Blue Forest project started in 2019 for mangrove reforestation. The deforestation that has taken place over the years has deeply impacted the livelihood of the villagers due to the reduction in marine species. They depend on fishing for the local economy and are also “vulnerable to recurrent floods from heavy rains in April and October, and sea level rise,” says Harith Mohamed Suleiman, a member of an Indigenous community. On International Mangrove Day alone, there were 1,000 mangrove seedlings planted in one day thanks to the devotion of community volunteers. There are also plans to extend the reforestation efforts with their Tanzania neighbors. “Since the first NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) was submitted, we have gathered enough scientific information to identify mangroves as a pillar,” the environment ministry’s Otieno told Mongabay by phone. “We now have a national mangrove ecosystem management plan [for] 2017 to 2027 to boost Kenya’s contribution to limit global warming.” The good news doesn’t stop there. Vanga Blue Forest sells carbon credits to enhance community income. With money in the bank, flood walls were built and health care supplies were bought.

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