Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation funding boost for Edinburgh Napier University led mangrove forest project

ENVIRONMENTALIST Leonardo DiCaprio is backing an Edinburgh research project to save mangrove forests in Africa with a near £40,000 grant.

The Hollywood actor announced Edinburgh Napier University is to receive £37,000 from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

It will be put towards the Mikoko Pamojo project – Mangroves Together – working near Mombassa to help locals maintain and develop the forests.

Last week the Gazi Bay project won the prestigious 2017 Equator Prize from the United Nations.

They have been working with locals to develop sustainable ways of protecting the forests while creating work.

It is vital in the area because of the protection the forests offer against sea storms, and their impact on climate change by soaking up huge amounts of CO2.

IN DETAIL: Mikoko Pamoja project wins UN Equator Prize 2017 as Edinburgh Napier University hailed for conservation work

But they have been at risk from industry.

The success in the area means the project hope to roll out similar initiatives across the region.

Professor Mark Huxham, who leads Napier’s work, said: “We have shown how scientists, government and local people can work together to conserve forests and improve lives at Gazi, our current site.

MarkHuxham1
Professor Mark Huxham.

“This support from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will help us expand our efforts to Vanga, the largest mangrove forest in southern Kenya, where local people have asked for our help in securing their forest for the future.”

The latest grant, announced at a climate change conference at Yale University, is one of around 100 announced by the foundation.

LDF CEO Terry Tamminen said: “This round of grants comes at a critical time.

“With a lack of political leadership and continued evidence that climate change is growing worse with record breaking heatwaves and storms, we believe we need to do as much as we can now, before it is too late.”

DiCaprio is already familiar with Edinburgh having helped support the Social Bite project previously, as pictured, ahead of delivering a speech on the environment.

Want to learn more? Read: Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation Awards $20 million in environmental grants

Image credits: Social Bite; Edinburgh Napier University

Shaun Milne is a Scottish based journalist with a particular interest in environmental issues, politics and travel.

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