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Aboud Mohammed leads the way through a thicket on the island of Pate, the largest in the Lamu Archipelago, close to the northeast coast of Kenya. 

Aboud Mohammed leads the way through a thicket on the island of Pate, the largest in the Lamu Archipelago, close to the northeast coast of Kenya. 

Photograph by Kang-Chun Cheng for Bloomberg Markets

Markets
Markets Magazine

Preserving Kenya’s Sunken Treasure

Oft-overlooked, mangroves are a coastal economy’s essential workers.

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Along the coast of Kenya, mangrove forests provide an array of ecosystem benefits, including sequestering carbon, preventing shoreline erosion, and protecting fish from tides and predators. But the shrimp and fish aquaculture industries are destroying the very mangroves that are so essential to their health.  

Now some coastal communities, for which mangroves also have spiritual, cultural, and ceremonial importance, are taking action to restore these special trees and preserve their local economies. Aboud Mohammed’s focus is on the island of Pate, the largest in the Lamu Archipelago, close to the northeast coast of Kenya. As vice chairman of Pate Resources and Tourism Initiative (Prati), Mohammed also heads a volunteer team that’s planted and conserved about 20 hectares (49 acres) of mangrove to promote biodiversity, combat climate change, and protect the livelihoods of local subsistence fishermen.