by Wanjohi Kabukuru | The Associated Press
MOMBASA, Kenya – As African nations increasingly turn to mangrove restoration projects to protect coastal communities from climate change and encourage investment, Mozambique becomes the latest addition to a growing list of countries with large-scale mangrove initiatives .
Mozambique follows efforts across the continent – including Kenya, Madagascar, The Gambia and Senegal – and is touted as the world’s largest coastal or marine ecosystem carbon storage project. Known as blue carbon, the carbon captured by these ecosystems, despite being smaller in size, can sequester or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a faster rate than forests.
Mozambique’s mangrove restoration project – announced in February with its UAE-based partner Blue Forest – is expected to convert 185,000 hectares (457,100 acres) in central Zambezia and southern Sofla provinces into a forest that can capture up to 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. May, according to project leaders.
Wahid Fotuhi, chief executive officer of Blue Forest, told the Associated Press, “Blue carbon can be used not only to isolate tons of carbon dioxide, but also to improve the lives of coastal communities. ” “Africa has about one million hectares of mangrove forests. Collectively they are able to sequester more carbon dioxide than the total annual emissions of a country like Croatia or Bolivia.” He said these projects would create green jobs and promote biodiversity.
Africa’s major mangrove forests have been destroyed in recent decades by logging, fisheries, coastal development and pollution, leading to increased blue carbon emissions and greater exposure of vulnerable coastal communities to flooding and other threats to livelihoods .
But the continent’s increasing focus on mangrove restoration can be attributed to the successful Mikoko Palmoza Project, launched in 2013 in Ghazi Bay, Kenya, which protected 117 hectares (289 acres) of mangrove forest and 4,000 trees annually. Planted it, inspired other countries also. Address their damaged coastal land and rebuild its success.
Mikoko Palmoza, the Swahili for ‘Mangroves Together’, focused its efforts on protecting Gazi and Mkongani villages from coastal erosion, fish loss and climate change. It was dubbed the “world’s first blue carbon project” and earned the community just over 6,000 global acclaim, accolades, carbon cash and a better standard of living.
“Mikoko Pamoza has developed projects in the community, including the installation of water,” said Iddi Bomani, the village president of the Ghazi community. “Water is available in everyone’s house.”
“This leads to better livelihoods through job creation, especially when done by communities,” said Laitani Suleiman, a committee member at Mikoko Pamoza.
Since then many other projects have come to fruition. In Senegal, 79 million mangrove trees are projected to store 500,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 20 years. Neighboring The Gambia launched its own reforestation effort in 2017, in line with Madagascar’s own conservation project two years later. Egypt is planning its mangrove restoration project ahead of hosting the UN climate summit in November this year.
The projects have sparked an uproar for the sale of carbon credits, a type of permit that allows a certain amount of emissions as remuneration for forest restoration or other carbon offset projects. Gabon was recently offered a $17 million salary package through the Central African Forest Initiative for its conservation efforts, but complaints remain about the low prices paid to African governments.
“Africa is excluded from a lot of the financing available under climate change,” said Jean-Paul Adam, head of the climate department at the Economic Commission for Africa, adding that a lack of funding means nations on the continent are in the process of building their own. are unable. Resilience to climate change.
He added that advocating for “nature-based solutions and a fair development price of carbon” will propel the African economy.
And according to Marisa Stein of the Coral Reef Alliance, the benefits of deforestation could be significant.
“Restoring and protecting our marine habitats plays a vital role in maintaining the health of our planet,” he said, adding that mangroves alone store four times more carbon per hectare than tropical rainforests. The Global Mangrove Alliance also estimates that mangroves reduce the risk of damage and flooding for 15 million people and could prevent more than $65 billion in property damage each year.