Linking mangroves to carbon and finance

Linking Mangroves to Carbon and Finance – Protecting our mangroves

Mangroves, which are disappearing faster than terrestrial forests, are not yet fully benefiting from carbon financing. Mauritius is no exception. ADD has planted some 10ha of coastal zone with some 100,000 mangroves. The inclusion of mangroves in national REDD+ could bring in resources and highlight its economic and social values and eventually assure their protection.

A UNEP study finds that limited development of methodologies for carbon accounting in mangroves and the lack of inclusion of mangroves in some definitions of forests may be inhibiting their inclusion in REDD+. A number of options for the development of projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or increase carbon sequestration have been developed as guiding principles.

These include conservation of existing coastal carbon pools and application of coastal wetland restoration technologies. The principles for successful carbon projects in coastal wetlands include community engagement, the application of landscapes approaches, and consideration of climate change projections, including anticipated sea level rise.

Another report, ‘Carbon Pools and Multiple Benefits of Mangroves in Central Africa - Assessment for REDD+' estimates that the carbon benefits from mangroves in Central Africa could be as high as US$66 billion not including benefits from fisheries, coastal protection and other ecosystem services. However, between 2000 and 2010, an estimated 771 km2 of mangroves were lost or degraded in the region.

Inclusion of mangroves in national REDD+ programmes, the development of strategies to address mangrove deforestation and forest degradation and the inclusion of stakeholders in future planning related to mangroves are ways of preserving mangroves. Countries may also apply the GHG inventory guidelines for wetlands published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In support of the recommendations contained in the above reports, UNEP released an assessment of satellite-based monitoring for mangroves. Related publications:

1.      ‘Monitoring the Restoration of Mangrove Ecosystems from Space' concludes that satellite remote sensing can detect mangrove restoration efforts and therefore can be included as a useful tool in planning and monitoring mangrove management projects.

2.      Guiding Principles for Delivering Coastal Wetland Carbon Projects

3.      Carbon Pools and Multiple Benefits of Mangroves in Central Africa - Assessment for REDD+

4.      Monitoring the Restoration of Mangrove Ecosystems from Space