Dr. James Kairo

James Gitundu Kairo is a Pew Fellow (2019) and Chief Scientist at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute - a national research institute mandated to research and advice the government on wise use of aquatic resources. Kairo obtained BSc and MSc in Biology from the University of Nairobi (Kenya) before proceeding for his PhD at the Free University of Brussels (VUB, Belgium) on the theme of ecology and restoration of mangrove systems.

Kairo has vast knowledge and working experience on the conservation, rehabilitation, and sustainable utilization coastal and marine resources, which has earned him several national and international awards. In 2010, Dr. Kairo was awarded Kenya’s Presidential Award of the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) for his contribution in the advancement of marine conservation in the country. In 2019, Kairo was nominated a Pew Fellow in marine conservation.

Dr. Kairo is member of International Scientific Working Group on Blue Carbon and served as the coordinating lead author (CLA) of the IPCC’s special report on oceans and cryosphere (SROCC).

KMFRI Shimoni/Gazi
Oceanography and Hydrography
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions, Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystems, Sustainable Development, Ecology and Restoration of Mangrove Systems, management planning, climate change.
  • PhD (VUB, Belgium), Marine Resources Management 
  • MSc (UoN, Kenya). Plant Biology 
  • BSc (UoN, Kenya). Plant Biology
  • Kairo, J., & Langat, J. (2021). Ocean Climate Solutions: Blue carbon Now Incorporated in the Updated Kenya’s Nationally Determined Contributions to Paris Agreement.
  • Steven, A., Addo,  and Kairo, J., Coastal Development: Resilience, Restoration and Infrastructure Requirements.
    Dahdouh-Guebas, Kairo J.G, and Curnick, D.J., 2020. Public perceptions of mangrove forests matter for their conservation. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, p.901.
    Kairo J.G. and Mangora. M. M. (2020). Edn. Guidelines on Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration for the Western Indian Ocean Region. UNEP, Nairobi, 54 pp: www.nairobiconvention.org/; www.wiomn.org; www.wiomsa.org
  • Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Hugé, J., Kairo, J.G (2020). Reconciling nature, people and policy in the mangrove social-ecological system through the adaptive cycle heuristic, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science (2020), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2020.106942.
  • Amina Juma Hamsa, Luciana S. Esteves, Marin Cvitanovic, and James Kairo (2020). Past and Present Utilization of Mangrove Resources in Eastern Africa and Drivers of Change. Journal of Coastal Research95(sp1), 39-44, https://doi.org/10.2112/SI95-008.1
  • Fortnam, M., Atkins, M., Kairo, J. G…… (2020). Multiple impact pathways of the 2015–2016 El Niño in coastal Kenya. Ambio (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-020-01321-z
  • Nunan F, Omondi MA, …., Kairo JG,…..2020. The Silos of Natural Resource Governance:Implications of Sector-led Coastal Management at the Village Level in Kenya and Zanzibar-Tanzania. Conservat. Soc. 2020;18:148-60
  • Nerillie Abram. ….Kairo J. G. (2019) Summary for Policymakers. In: IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. IPCC.
  • Fredrick Mungai, James Kairo, John Mironga, Bernard Kirui, Mwita Mangora & Nico Koedam (2019). Mangrove cover and cover change analysis in the transboundary area of Kenya and Tanzania during 1986–2016, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, 15:2, 157- 176, DOI:10.1080/19480881.2019.1613868
  • Frank Celine;. James. G. Kairo; Mohamed O. S. Mohamed, …..(2017); Involvement, knowledge and perception in a natural reserve under participatory management: Mida Creek, Kenya. Ocean & Coastal Management, 142(15) 28 – 36.
  • Gress, S. K., M. Huxham, J.G. Kairo, L. M. Mugi, and R. A. Briers. 2016. Evaluating, predicting and mapping belowground carbon stores in Kenyan mangroves. Global Change Biology (2016), doi:10.1111/gcb.13438
  • Huxham, M. L. Emerton, J. Kairo, F., Munyi, H. Abdirizak, T. Muriuki, F., Nunan, R. A. Briers, 2015, Applying Climate Compatible Development and economic valuation to coastal management: A case study of Kenya's mangrove forests. Journal of Environmental Management. 157: 168–181
  • Bosire, J. O; J. J. Kaino, A. O. Olagoke, L. M. Mwihaki, G. M. Ogendi, J. G. Kairo, U. Berger, & D. Macharia, 2014. Mangroves in peril: unprecedented degradation rates of peri-urban mangroves in Kenya. Biogeosciences 05/2014; 11:2623–2634.
  • Di Nitto, D.; G. Neukermans, N. Koedam, H. Defever, F. Pattyn, J. G. Kairo, F. Dahdouh-Guebas, 2014. Mangroves facing climate change: landward migration potential in response to projected scenarios of sea level rise. Biogeosciences 02/2014; 11(857-871).
  • Hijbeek, R.; Koedam, N.; Khan, N. I; Kairo, J.G.; Schoukens, J.; Dahdouh-Guebas, F., 2013. An evaluation of plotless sampling using vegetation simulations and field data from a mangrove forest. PLos One 8(6): e67201.doi:10.1371/jounal.pone.0067201.
  • Kirui, K.B., J. G. Kairo, J. Bosire, K. M. Viegever, S. Rudra, M. Huxham, R. A. Briers, 2012. Mapping of mangrove forest land cover change along the Kenya coastline using Landsat
    imagery, Ocean & Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.12.004
  • Wang’ondu, V. W; J. G. Kairo, J. I. Kinyamario, F. B. Mwaura, J. O. Bosire2, F. Dahdouh--- Guebas, and N. Koedam, 2010. Phenology of Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh. in a Disjunctly---zoned Mangrove Stand in Kenya. Western Indian Ocean J. Mar. Sci. 9 (2):135-144,
  • Kairo, J. G.; J. Bosire, J. Langat, B. Kirui, and N. Koedam, 2009. Allometry and biomass distribution in replanted mangrove plantations at Gazi Bay, Kenya. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.1046
  • Kairo, J. G., Lang’at, J. K. S., Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Bosire, J. O and Karachi, M (2008). Structural Development and Productivity of Replanted Mangrove Plantations in Kenya. Forest Ecology and Management 255: 2670 -2677

Prizes and Awards

  • The Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS): Conferred on 12th Dec. 2010; by His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya, in recognition of the distinguished services I have rendered to my Country in the areas of marine conservation
  • National Heroic Award: Awarded by Kenya’s Ministry of Fishery Development, on the Occasion to mark World Ocean Day, Mombasa. The award was in recognition of my contribution in the advancement of mangrove conservation in Kenya.
  • WIOMSA Fellowship Award: Awarded by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association WIOMSA) in recognition of my contribution to the advancement of marine science in the region (visit: www.wiomsa.org for details of the award and nomination)
  • WWF-Practitioner Fellow: Awarded by Alcoa Foundation’s Conservation and Sustainability Program to undertake research on productivity of replanted mangrove forests in Kenya (see web for details of nomination: www.iie.org/programs/practitionerfellows)
  • International Cooperation Prize - Awarded by the Belgian government in recognition of the relevance of my work in promoting international development cooperation and sustainable development (see web for details of nomination: http://www.devcoprize.africamuseum.be/en/laurea02/00r1.htm)