Mangroves gain recognition as ultimate nature-based solution to climate change

Senior International Correspondent John Irvine reports on the measure to combat climate change that's gaining favour - mangroves

Mangroves are catching the attention of a world seeking to adapt to climate change

The ability of these salt-water trees to store five times more carbon than terrestrial forests, and to act as natural barriers to sea storms and rising sea levels, has seen them hailed as nature's ultimate solution to climate change. 

Several initiatives were launched at COP27 to encourage the preservation and conversation of mangrove forests, including a call for multi-billion pound investment.

To see how coastal communities - and the global environment - could benefit, ITV News visited two pioneering projects in southern Kenya, called Mikoko Pamoja and Vanga Blue Forest.

The work they do has successfully convinced local people to embrace mangroves, rather than cutting them down to provide fuel and building materials. 

As well as highlighting their role in preventing erosion and storing carbon, the projects provide tangible benefits in the form of jobs and funding for community projects, including schools and alternative fuel sources. 

Legions of mangrove trees in Kenya. Credit: ITV News

Kassim Juma grew up in Gazi Bay and now works as at Mikoko Pamoja, which is Swahili for “Mangroves Together”.  He says the jobs and funding flowing into his village have inspired a real change in attitude. 

“Everyone in the village is very happy about mangrove conservation,” he told us. “We are sure that we will stand as one to make sure the mangrove ecosystems are protected.” 

Small mangrove trees grow in southern Kenya. Credit: ITV News

His counterpart at Vanga Blue Forest, Mwanarusi Mafrica, is equally evangelistic. 

“My main message is that for the countries that have mangrove forests, let’s protect them, because they do have such a supernatural capability,” she said. 

Mikoko Pamoja and Vanga Blue Forest are supported by the Association for Coastal Ecosystem Services (ACES), a Scottish-based charity which raises funds through the ethical sale of carbon credits, or offsets.  

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