Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

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Ecology and restoration of mangrove systems in Kenya

James Gitundu KAIRO researcher laureate

°1964 Kenya
Master's in plant ecology, University of Nairobi, Kenya, 1995

Ecology and restoration of mangrove systems in Kenya

Rainforests situated along tropical coasts are called mangroves. They feature remarkable vegetation types, especially in view of their ability to thrive in brackish water.
The presence and vitality of mangroves are important for the protection of tropical coasts and for economic development in these areas. This position has been proposed and proven on more than one occasion in the past. Mangroves serve as a significant buffer against storms, they substantially reduce coastal erosion, they are a breeding site for a great many fish species and they retain sediment that would otherwise cover and choke coral reefs. If managed properly, mangroves can provide in a sustainable way high-grade building materials, fuel and food for the coastal population. Mangroves are disappearing worldwide at a rate of 2 to 8% per year. The causes of this are related to rapid economic development in these coastal areas, with gradually increasing population pressure and a variety of unsustainable activities.
Dr Kairo’s work provides an overview of the reasons why mangroves are under threat and therefore need protection. Especially in the context of a densely populated developing nation, protection cannot be equated with withholding a threatened area from any form of human use. On the contrary, the efficient protection of tropical ecosystems involves mostly the introduction of a form of management which is oriented towards the sustainable provision of products and services.
Scientific information is needed in order to devise a management plan. Scientifically acquired data which can be directly translated into a management plan for mangroves are rather scarce. Dr Kairo’s doctoral thesis and publications are unique in that they really are directly applicable to projects related to mangrove replanting and timber harvesting.

report by Prof. Beeckman, Laboratory for Wood Biology and Xylarium, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium