Economic and Ecological Valuation of Mangrove Forest at Mida Creek in Kilifi County, Kenya
Olima, Cecilia Oyuga
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Mangroves are considered a highly productive blue forest providing services that are important to the community both locally and globally. Increasing human population and demand for natural resources is threatening the existence of these forests. The concept of ecosystem services and its valuation helps in educating and informing people of the benefits and cost of their decisions. There is need to provide a simplified approach to identify, assess and quantify ecosystem services. This study assessed the value of harvested goods and coastal protection services provided by mangroves of Mida Creek in the current and plausible future scenarios. The study adopted the methods described in the Toolkit for Ecosystem Services Site-based Assessment (TESSA). Data was collected using primary techniques (focus group discussions, key informant interviews, spatial methods, household interviews and field measurements), and secondary data (data on wind speed and coastal protection values). Descriptive statistics was used to summarize quantitative data. The coastal protection value of mangroves was extrapolated from secondary data. This study estimated the annual current value of harvested goods in Mida Creek to US$ 11.3 million (US$ 6,869.5ha- yr.-). The value was expected to increase to US$14.2 million in the conservation scenario but reduce to US$ 10.9 million in the business-as-usual scenario. The study also established that a wider mangrove bandwidth offers better protection against coastal hazards as opposed to a narrow bandwidth. The value of coastal protection in the current scenario was estimated to be US$ 5.1 Million per year. It is likely to increase to US$ 5.7 Million per year in the conservation scenario and was estimated to reduce to approximately US$ 5.0 million in the business as usual scenario. From, these results, raising awareness among stakeholders on the importance of sustainable use of the natural resources as demonstrated by the value of ecosystems services that would be lost or gained if the mangrove of the Mida Creek is altered is necessary. These findings also add to growing literature on ecosystem services valuation and the need to use site specific non modelling tools like TESSA.