Ecology Programmes Mangrove Capital Africa – Tanzania

The programme Mangrove Capital Africa in Tanzania is led by Wetlands International Africa.

Rufiji Delta

The Rufiji Delta hosts East Africa’s largest concentration of mangroves and is designated part of the Rufiji-Mafia-Kilwa marine Ramsar site. The extensive zone, extending to the Songo-Songo archipelago, comprises a variety of mangrove forests, intertidal flats, sandbanks, seagrass beds and extensive coral reefs intersected by deeper marine waters. It supports a wide diversity of flora and fauna including many migratory birds that rely on the delta for stopovers and overwintering. The Nile crocodile, hippopotamus, otters, and Sykes monkeys share the delta. Five species of globally threatened marine turtles, including the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill, nest in the area.

Current challenges

Around 42,000 people live in the Delta. They depend principally on agriculture growing rice, sorghum, millet and cassava, seaweed farming, fishing, fish processing and trade, as well as tourism and handicrafts. The delta’s mangroves face a range of threats from changes in flood regimes, saltwater intrusion and over-exploitation of mangrove resources. Land grabbing for agriculture and ill-planned infrastructure developments are also problematic. Pollution from agriculture and pulp and paper mills, population growth and, of course, climate change, pose further challenges.


To increase the ecological, social and economic values of over 1 million hectares of African mangroves. People will have greater resilience and prosperity. The meaning of this may vary:

  • Increasing mangrove dependent incomes by 15-30 percent;
  • Exposure to fewer oil spills for example will help improve people’s health;
  • Greater say over natural resource management will create a more stable society, resulting in more prospects for work and a stronger social fabric.

Healthy mangroves will support climate adaptation, by reducing erosion, saline intrusion, storm damage and other climate-change impacts. Meanwhile, better management practices will enable mangroves themselves to adapt to climate change by allowing them to migrate inland as sea-levels rise. Most of all, this programme will help safeguard mangrove capital for nature and people.

Key features

Landscape  Rufiji Delta (Tanzania) – 600.000 hectares
Goals for the next 2 years  Launch of participatory CSO platform
  Adoption of management plans
  Start of extensive train-the-trainers programme