Bronwyn Larner’s Diary
Tidal Forests of Kenya

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July 6, 2009: Mangrove 101

Jambo! Habari gani?
It is less than two weeks to go before I fly to Kenya! I have had my last vaccination, acquired malaria tablets and have booked a return train ticket from Nairobi to Mombasa (the rendezvous point for the expedition). I am getting more excited but am trying to stay focussed at work. Evenings at home are spent poring over maps and guidebooks getting ready for my adventure. Will and I (the Western Australian Earthwatch participants) have appeared in Alcoa of Australia's magazine and on the Alcoa Intranet and I am often getting quizzed about Earthwatch, the expedition, mangroves and how to apply next year. Despite needing no prior knowledge on mangroves for the expedition (as project staff will provide introductory lectures and training), the scientist in me cannot help doing a bit of pre-reading. Some facts I would like to share that I have discovered from my readings include:

  • Mangroves sequester 1.5 metric tons/hectare/yr of carbon
  • Mangroves are known as the rainforests by the sea.
  • Large stretches of the sub-tropical and tropical coastlines of Asia, Africa, Oceania, the Americas and the Caribbean are fringed by mangroves
  • Mangrove forests were once estimated to cover over 32 million hectares. Now less than 15 million hectares remain
  • Where the mangrove forests have been cleared, problems of erosion and siltation have occurred
  • The root structure of mangroves can attenuate a wave's energy, reducing the damaging effects of storm driven waves from hurricanes and tsunamis
That's all for now; my next blog entry will probably be from Dubai as I wait for my connecting flight.

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