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Miracle mangroves: restoring Senegal’s spectacular landscapes

Nicolas Van Ingen
Of all the forests, mangroves are probably the most impressive. These tropical trees and shrubs that thrive in salty, coastal waters act as natural climate regulators, and are essential for biodiversity and as sources of freshwater and income for the local people.

Celebrating World Wetlands Day 2021, WeForest and Oceanium are excited to announce their ambitious partnership to restore one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes: the tidal mangrove ecosystem of Senegal. 

Mangroves aren’t just beautiful and beneficial. They also sequester huge amounts of carbon that can fight climate change. They do this far more effectively and permanently than terrestrial forests. Per hectare, mangroves can store four times more carbon than rainforests (Donato et al., 2011).

Despite providing such unique and essential services to all, these extraordinary landscapes have been continuously degraded. Droughts like those of the 1970s and 1980s added to people’s need for energy and firewood, leading to a decrease in the extent and quality of the mangrove; one study recorded a significant disappearance of 38.3% in the Saloum delta between 1972 and 1986 (El Balla Dieye et al., 2013).

WeForest and Oceanium are launching the largest carbon-certified mangrove project in the world, replanting over 7000 hectares in the first three-year phase and eventually 16,000 hectares – an area almost as large as Washington DC. Our joint focus is to actively restore these degraded mangroves, re-establishing the unique biodiversity of flora and fauna, sequestering 5 million tons of CO2 and supporting local communities to become the guardians of their forests.

“Our partnership with Oceanium was a very obvious one,” says Marie-Noelle Keijzer, CEO and co-founder of WeForest. “It enables us to combine their high credibility in mangrove restoration and community engagement with our own expertise in project design, funding experience and scientific validation.”  

For more information, visit the project webpages here and here.

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