Linking economic values of mangrove ecosystems with the governing institutional framework for sustainable management of the Tana Delta, Kenya
Mangroves provide a host of ecosystem goods and services such as nursery and spawning ground for fish, shoreline and storm protection, carbon sequestration, ground water recharge, flood control, tourism and recreation, fishing; water transport; herbal medicines, honey, timber/poles, fuel wood among others. However, they face a continued threat to their existence from conversion into aquaculture, over harvesting, pollution, upstream developments that threaten the availability of freshwater flooding, etc. This is due to lack of acknowledgement of the values of the goods and services that mangroves provide, particularly in economic terms. This study determined the economic value of the mangrove ecosystem goods and services in Tana River delta; and assessed the role of the integrated river basin management (IRBM) framework in safeguarding them. Out of a population of 3,743 households in Kipini, 605 were surveyed using market price method, choice experiment questionnaires and content analysis. The results show that the total economic values of the mangroves is US$ 1053.92/ha/year and that the legal architecture of the institutional arrangements does not fully capture the principles of IRBM. It is therefore recommended that in order to harness the economic benefits of mangroves, there is need to establish the Tana River reserve flow to guide in allocation of water resources equitably among the competing needs. A review of the Water Act 2002 will be necessary to address the gaps identified.