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Mangrove forest, Lamu, Kenya
The last decades have seen an increasing focus on the importance of mangrove forests in the coastal ecosystem. The ecosystem services provided by mangroves are many: they function as buffers between land and sea and provide protection against extreme weather. Their deep root systems prevent soil erosion and serve as nursery for marine organisms including species of fish, shrimp and crab, while the canopies provide nesting grounds for birds. In Kenya mangroves are exploited for economic purposes and used for building material and fuel wood. As in other parts of the world, Kenya’s mangroves are endangered due to over-exploitation and the conversion to rice farms, salt pans, aquaculture, and urbanization.