Nature Seychelles' wetland manager Robin has returned from 11 exciting days of an inaugural mangroves training course in Kenya. The training was organised by the Western Indian Ocean Mangrove Network.
It attracted 24 attendees from 8 countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, The Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Madagascar and was held at the Moana University of Nairobi field station in Diani, 50km south of Mombasa, Kenya.
Mangrove forests provide an array of ecosystem goods and services, which support the livelihoods of millions of people in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. According to organisers, the course was intended to strengthen the knowledge and capacity of coastal managers, academics, professionals, and institutions that deal with mangroves from this region.
The course was intense with extremely diverse topics covering all aspects of the value of mangroves and going into significant depth on each. The topics covered included biology, ecology, faunal and floral diversity, restoration and management tools, propagation, climate change adaptation, carbon sequestration, resilience, fisheries, communities and livelihoods, economics, field monitoring and assessment tools and laws and policies.
"It was excellent," says Robin "bringing together a huge wealth of experience from across the region; ranging from students researching economic value of mangroves, policy and governance specialists to heads of environment."
Nature Seychelles has just completed a successful mangroves enhancement project at the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman supported by the Mangroves for the Future Initiative and Sun Excavators and Robin was able to share knowledge and experiences from this project at the course. "Our interpretation on the site was even used as an example at the course," he says.
"I was also particularly pleased with the knowledge and concept sharing aspect of the course as well as the pooling of best practice and theorizing future directions and projects."
Robin says that there are several concepts that can be applied to Seychelles in areas as wide ranging as ecotourism and coastal protection.
The course included field visits to community projects in the South Coast of Kenya. Communities here are involved in carbon storage projects, ecotourism including mangrove guided walks and meals served in buildings on the edge of mangroves, crab fattening, and projects that provide alternative energy and building materials.
"The course was inspiring, showing the very real value mangroves have in strengthening communities, economies and lending significant aid to adaptation and mitigation from global warming," Robin concludes.
The course was supported by Kenya Marine Fisheries Institute (KMFRI), the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), the Coastal Oceans Research and Development - Indian Ocean (CORDIO), University of Nairobi, Nairobi Convention, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) “Coastal East Africa Initiative” (CEA-NI). It was funded by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Organisation (WIOMSA).