Mangrove forests form an integral part of coastal ecosystems and play a key role in climate change mitigation. Growing in tropical and sub-tropical tidal areas, such as estuaries and marine shorelines, their roots extend deep into the coastal sediment. They serve as effective natural barriers to rising sea levels and flooding, bearing the brunt of storm surges and preventing excessive sedimentation. According to Corcoran, Ravilious and Skuja (2007), mangroves also serve as major carbon sinks, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere together with other greenhouse gases.
Recent incidences of flooding and localised landslides in Freetown have clearly indicated that Sierra Leone lacks the capacity to absorb the effects of such disasters. There is weak resilience, a low level of preparedness and inadequate adaptive capacity in the country to resist climate-induced natural disasters. Communities that are directly affected, including Susan’s Bay in Central Freetown, are increasingly experiencing adverse environmental conditions, especially flooding during the rains, and dwindling water supplies.
With increasing demand for land — due to population growth, demographic changes, and urbanization — and a commensurate increase in the demand for water, food, and shelter, there is a need to re-examine existing land use patterns and consider the possibility of alternative and/or multiple land uses. While still not widespread and fully embraced, agroforestry may provide a solution, offering relatively inexpensive and feasible strategies for providing employment and food security while supporting natural habitats.