Natural Factors and Human Influence Identified as Key Determinants of Structural Variability of Mangrove Forests along the Kenyan Coast

Mangroves forests provide an array of benefits to adjacent communities along the Kenyan coast. Considering that their economic contribution to the people of Kenya is estimated in the order of billions of shillings every year, it is important to understand the key determinants of their structural variability. Researchers from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Embu namely, Dr. Justine Nyaga, Dr. Michael Githaiga and Mr. Derrick Njiru in collaboration with Dr. James Kairo of the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute examined the relationship between mangrove distribution, climate and landform types in Kenya. They observed high levels of structural complexity for the mangroves found in the deltaic settings at the mouth of River Tana and the protected islands around the Lamu Archipelago. It was evident from the study that the mangrove forests are mainly influenced by the interplay between the riverine discharge, ocean hydrodynamic patterns, geomorphology, air-sea interactions and past and present management regime. However, human pressure on these forests reduce the levels of their structural complexity. This study was funded by the Pew Charitable Trust, WWF-Germany, WWF-US, GEF Blue Forest Project and The Nature Conservancy.


The full findings of this study are published in a peer reviewed MDPI Forests Journal under the topic “Geomorphic and Climatic Drivers are Key Determinants of Structural Variability of Mangrove Forests along the Kenyan Coast”. The paper can be accessed via Another most latest publication from the same project is available at