ASSESSING CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY OF THE COMMUNITIES DEPENDENT ON MANGROVE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE TANA RIVER DELTA, KENYA

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Communities living at the coastal mangrove wetlands such as those around the Tana Delta are highly dependent on these ecosystems. However, the ecosystems and their surrounding communities face an increasing number of threats including various environmental impacts from climate change. In order to come up with suitable policy measures to address the community livelihoods in the face of climate change, an assessment of vulnerabilities to climate change and variability is important. This study aims to assess the vulnerability of communities that depend on the mangrove ecosystems in Kipini Division of Tana Delta District utilizing data from households in 3 villages located in 3 different locations.An understanding of the ecosystems and their services will be created and how these are considered by the communities in climate change adaptation. An analysis of the exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the communities dependent on the coastal mangrove ecosystems will be undertaken. The analysis will be based on indices constructed from some selected indicators. The indicators will be weighted using Principal Component Analysis (PCA).  Based on a wide range of data collected through various methodologies, adaptation strategies to reduce vulnerability will then be generated.

 

Earth observation based mapping will be combined with socio-economic household surveys, biophysical assessmentsand participatory methodologies so as to gather data on the mangrove ecosystem services, their dependent communities and their vulnerability to climate change. Major outputs of the project will include: a map of the coastal wetlands and mangrove ecosystems in the Kipini area; information on the mangrove ecosystem services; information on the vulnerability of local communities to climate change related impacts; and ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approaches.

 

Healthy ecosystems are important because they contribute towards climate change adaptation by acting as buffers, thus contributing to and increasing resilience to climate change impacts. EbA approaches are thus of importance because management, conservation and restoration activities are organized with a focus on specific ecosystem services to reduce exposure to climate change. They are considered a “triple win solution to sustainable development of ecosystem dependent communities” since they promote conservation of biodiversity as well as enable an improvement in economic and human livelihoods and provide opportunities for the adjacent communities to adapt to climate change (Naumann et al., 2011).

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