|Recent advances in coastal ecology: studies from Kenya|
Hoorweg, J.; Muthiga, N. A. (2003). Recent advances in coastal ecology: studies from Kenya. 70. [S.n.]: Leiden.
|Authors|| || Top |
- Hoorweg, J.
- Muthiga, N. A., more
This monograph contains 27 contributions differing widely in scope. Subjects range from coral reef restoration to butterfly breeding, from river sediments to Kaya forests, and from marine fisheries to elephant management. The analytical power of the research varies greatly: there are reviews of years of work such as that on the restoration of coral reefs but also thesis research that is more modest in scope. Study locations extend from Kiunga in the north to Kisite in the south but most studies concentrate on the southern coast where the pressure on the environment is greatest. There are indeed many signs of degradation and examples of ecosystems that are threatened: coral reefs, mangrove forests and kayas are all cases in point. The coastal environment is under pressure because of naturally occurring processes, the escalating subsistence needs of the local population and the increasing economic exploitation of natural resources. The coastal region is economically disadvantaged compared with the centre of the country (Meilink 2000) and economic growth opportunities must be explored. At the same time, concerns exist about unfettered development and the environmental implications for coastal ecosystems. The case for a regional development policy focusing on agriculture, tourism and port services has been argued (Hoorweg, Foeken & Obudho 2000b) but each development scenario has environmental consequences and inherent dangers. Development policies must take into account the fragile nature of the coastal ecosystems. Coastal protection and conservation requires the combined efforts of the many parties involved – government agencies, NGO’s, local communities, commercial enterprises and the research community. Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is a way of bringing together the different parties to ensure the sustainable use of coastal resources and to protect the quality of life for the local population and future generations (Clark 1996). ICZM is in its infancy in Kenya (UNEP 2000) and research has an important role to play in this process but publications are usually widely scattered. This monograph presents an overview of the range of study activities that exist. The research varies from descriptive studies and studies that provide benchmark information for later evaluation purposes to studies that are management oriented and aim at active intervention to protect or restore ecosystems. Whether signaling where and when environmental degradation is occurring or experimenting with promising interventions, all the studies have a contribution to make in protecting our cherished coastal riches.