Tackling climate change by planting mangrove

Published September 28, 2018 by Muna Ali Mohamoud

Luul and her group memebers at the mangrove planting site inspecting mangrove seedlings in Durduri village August, 2018

 

Local communities around the world are grappling with climate change impact on their daily life. But a group of women on the northern coast of Somalia decided to make the restoration of their coastal environment their mission.

Luul Abdurrahman, the group leader recounts how their community has been afflicted with climate aggravated droughts for the past decade. “Fifteen, twenty years ago this land had a lot of trees. Today, it’s almost a desert. We haven’t received any rain for five years now and that took a toll on our grazing lands, livestock, and livelihoods which depended on our livestock. We had to do something.”

The community in the coastal village of Durduri are exposed and vulnerable to climate change induced disasters such as drought, floods, and cyclones. Made up of livestock herders, fishing folk and farmers, the community is primarily dependent on natural resources which are already overused and stretched beyond its capacity. Eager to protect their natural environment from climate change, Luul and the rest of the women started to reclaim their environment by restoring its biodiversity. The women plant mangrove, a tree that serves as an ideal habitat for the reproduction and nesting of fish and other marine species, and provides feed to land and sea animals. Mangrove forests also act as a protection from future natural disasters.

In their first attempt back in 2015 the group faced a lot of challenges and only a few mangroves survived animal attacks, high tides and floods. Their second attempt in May 2018, came right after they received a community-based mangrove planting and management training. The training helped the group work out the causes of failure from their first try. The group learned how to identify appropriate locations to plant and simple methods to keep the plants protected and nurtured.

 “We learned how to choose favorable sites to plant. We choose locations where the plants will be hidden from animals and not be exposed to floods. We also used plastics bottles and cans to keep the offshoots protected until they mature,” explains Luul.

One of the women inspecting mature mangrove they planted a few years ago Durduri, August 2018

 

Adeso is supporting the women with the cost of the mangrove seedlings, training workshops, tools and other financial expenses needed to plant and maintain the plants. Through a two-year project, Adeso is partnering with Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to rehabilitate the coastal habitats and improve fisheries management in the coastal area of Puntland, Somalia. The project is addressing the needs of the fishing, farming and pastoralist communities to become more resistant to disasters, by improving their livelihood which are often disrupted by disasters and further exacerbated by lack of infrastructure and adequate tools and skills. To increase food security by promoting local food production from fishing and farming sectors while protecting the marine environment for sustainable use of fishing resources.

Even though they have a long way to go before they can enjoy a healthy environment capable of sustaining their resource-based way of life, the Luul and her friends are committed to investing their time and energy in practical solutions such as mangrove planting to adapt to climate change. They hope their efforts will one day reverse the environmental devastation that their community has witnessed in the past two decades.