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Kenya

Sii Island

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Conservation benefit: Conservation of 1,977 acres of mangrove forest for 15 years

Community benefit: Construction of a watch tower and office for management of protected area activities; mangrove mapping and replantation; and community awareness

Date Approved: 06.2016

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

Sii Island sits off the south coast of Kenya, close to the border with Tanzania. The island is entirely covered by mangrove forest, and for centuries served as a refuge for the indigenous communities of Vanga and Jimbo during times of war.

Currently, the island’s mangroves provide protection to the nearby fringing reefs, which serve as replenishment and spawning areas for nearly 250 species of fish and 124 coral species. In recent years, the mangroves of Sii Island have been threatened by illegal harvesting of trees, and the surrounding sea is subject to illegal fishing activities such as seine netting and the use of dynamite by fishers from Tanzania.

The villages of Jimbo, Vanga, and Kiwengu propose the protection of the forest through a local organization, VAJIKI (Vanga Jimbo Kiwengu) Community Forest Association. VAJIKI, working with the Kenya Forest Service and other stakeholders, will map the island’s mangrove forests and replant some of the degraded areas. In addition, VAJIKI, with the Vanga and Jimbo Beach Management Units, will demarcate other critical habitats, such as coral reefs, in the waters surrounding the island.

Our project partner will conduct community awareness programs to enhance compliance with the regulations on use of the mangrove forests. Finally, VAJIKI will build several watch towers, which will be used as observation points to prevent illegal cutting of mangroves.

Project Updates

August 2019

Construction of the office is now complete. The Community Forestry Association has completed surveying the mangroves around the island and is now replanting degraded areas. They plan to begin working with a government consultant to improve their results.

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February 2018

Three villages on the island have actively participated in mangrove seedling collection, storage, sorting and planting, with 7,500 seedlings planted overall. Seacology East Africa Field Representative Dishon Murage conducted a monitoring visit in December 2017 and noted that the most of the seedlings were doing well. During his visit, Dishon met with community representatives to obtain observations and opinions regarding the performance of the project, and to plan efforts to insure sustainability.

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May 2017

The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) approved construction of the office on government land, and construction will begin when rains subside. Before the approval, KFS sent officers, including the Ecosystem Conservator and the Forester for Kwale County, to survey and demarcate the land. Additionally, a survey of the Sii Island mangrove forest established that most of the forest is relatively intact and requires only protection to maintain its status. The project also has helped establish links with other potential projects that are likely to support efforts to protect the mangrove forest and generate income for local communities. This includes linking with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute on a carbon trading/carbon offset program that is under development.

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January 2017

Because three communities and multiple agencies are involved in the management and execution of this project, several meetings were held to clarify roles and responsibilities. Mapping and demarcation of mangroves and coral reef, as well as community awareness programs, are taking place as construction of the guard towers begins.

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