The Diocese of Inhambane in Mozambique has a vision to restore the once thriving mangrove forest near Inhambane Bay in Maxixe.
For many years, the mangroves were a vibrant ecosystem, but the forest declined as trees were cut for fuel, for building materials and to create space for farming.
However, that decline is now being reversed as the diocese has embarked on a programme of restoration. Earlier this year, church members began this new journey by planting 530 mangrove seedlings.
Leadership, partnership and the vital role of youth
The youth and members of Green Anglicans took center stage with 48 young people joining hands with the diocese to plant hope and life into the bay. They were led by the Venerable Aurélio Uqueio, the Provincial Coordinator of Green Anglicans , and the Rt Revd Emmanuel Capeta, Bishop of Inhambane and the provincial president of the Commission on Climate Change and Environment in the Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola (IAMA), whose leadership and dedication to this cause have been inspirational.
The Church is not working in isolation but engaging with others for greater impact. The diocese is working with the municipal government for training and expert advice. Recognizing the importance of community involvement for genuine restoration, the diocese has educated communities about the importance of mangrove forests and empowered them to take action.
Why mangroves matter
Often overlooked, mangroves play an important role in the planet’s ecosystems, providing many benefits. For example:
- Mangroves serve as a nursery for the reproduction of various marine species; they provide food and protect fish and shellfish – contributing to food security for local people;
- Mangroves protectcoastal communities from waves, storm surges and coastal erosion, as their roots stabilise soil;
- Mangroves, with their complex root systems act as natural filters, purify water and keep our oceans healthy.
- Mangroves and coastal wetlands are also important for sequestering (locking up) carbon, storing three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests.
Spirituality as well as practical action
The activities were imbued with a spiritual connection, drawing inspiration from Psalm 148 and centered around the eucharist. These moments remind us of the profound synergies that can exist between faith and environmental stewardship.
An inspiring example for others
The mangrove restoration being undertaken by Inhambane Diocese exemplifies what the Communion Forest is all about: churches across the Communion undertaking activities of tree growing and ecosystem conservation, protection and restoration that are locally chosen, and geographically and environmentally appropriate.
As we celebrate the success of the mangrove forest restoration at Inhambane, let us remember that this success carries a profound message. It calls us all to recognise the importance of biodiversity and to actively engage in efforts to restore and preserve them.