Raymond Glover’s Diary
Tidal Forests of Kenya
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July 26, 2009: Early Start
After a few hours of sleep I was woken with the sound of the call to prayer
at one of the two mosques in the village (the village is predominantly
Muslim), although I did manage another hour's sleep before getting up for
a breakfast of Mandazi (a type of fried bread or doughnut) beans in
coconut and fruit. We headed for the lab for a talk by Kairo on the
work being undertaken on the Mangroves of Kenya, and then by Martin
giving us an overview of the results of the project so far and explaining the biodiversity of the mangroves. After this the group headed out on
what is known as the "Marathon." This is a trek through the mangrove
forest in Gazi Bay to show us firsthand what had been described in the
earlier talks, so we were able to identify some of the mangrove species
by studying their leaf shape and root system. As we walked we also saw
the abundance of animal/marine life from Uca (fiddler crabs) to squid
and lobsters that the fisherman had caught. We saw some of the work
earlier Earthwatch teams had undertaken and how this is already starting
to have an impact on the environment with regards to coastal erosion and
deposits. We also saw the effects of farm land being destroyed
following deforestation of the mangroves (by official contractors!).
The effects could not be stopped even following the farmers' decision to
import many hundreds of tonnes of stone to act as a defence, which
ultimately proved ineffective despite the huge cost. The cost of
replanting mangroves is also very expensive compared with adopting a
sustainable approach to their management.
Between the rain showers, we had lunch on the mangrove boardwalk, which
is a project run by the Gazi Village Women to help raise awareness of
the mangroves as well as providing income for the community.
The marathon was as tough and muddy as I had read from earlier diary
entries. At least we all ended the days with the right number of
shoes, although not everybody's clothing came back in a fit state. We
learnt a great deal during the trek both about the mangroves and also
the team itself.
After cleaning ourselves up, we had a talk by Martin on Eco System
Services which covers how an eco system like the mangroves delivers
goods, like fish and wood, but also delivers services like coastal
protection and CO2 sequestration. He then explained the 5 points
covering general methodology of scientific experiments (randomisation,
replication, control, independence and correlation). Following a superb
dinner of rice, fish and mchicha (a spinach dish) we had a very
interesting and amusing talk on village life in Gazi by Hamisi, one of
the team working with us, who was formerly a local fisherman but now
works full time for KMFRI.
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