Hanoi, Vietnam – December 6, 2016: Download reports: New low-cost mechanism for investing in mangrove protection and restoration

Mangroves for the Future (MFF) and FAO have designed a new low-cost mechanism that enables investors to promote mangrove conservation and restoration through provision of funding to local communities. Developed under the regional project ‘Income for Coastal Communities for Mangrove Protection’, the mechanism provides a simple yet credible methodology to ensure mangrove areas are monitored and protected, carbon stocks are assessed, and local communities are involved in and benefit from project activities.

Under the mechanism, mangrove mapping and monitoring are implemented using low-cost tools such as GPS units, smartphones, and free software and online platforms. Carbon stocks are estimated using two simple parameters – plot latitude and standing mean basal area – thus reducing field time and equipment costs. The majority of the tasks can be undertaken by local communities after initial training by mangrove experts, reducing costs and improving project ownership and sustainability. The mechanism clearly identifies involved parties and provides step-by-step instructions on project development, implementation and financing.

By reducing the costs of mangrove monitoring and carbon estimation, the mechanism allows protection and restoration of smaller areas of mangroves that are currently priced out of international carbon initiatives. It is designed to be used by private- and public-sector investors throughout Asia. By providing a simple, standardised yet flexible methodology, it has the potential to significantly increase investment in mangrove protection and restoration.

14795977_10157517754205401_237868127_o

The mechanism was designed over a period of two years, with contributions from international mangrove experts, government agencies and academia. It was informed by visits to mangrove sites in Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam, which included field-testing and extensive consultations with mangrove communities and local governments. The carbon estimation component was designed in collaboration with Yale University and will be published in PLOS ONE journal in the coming months.

With SIDA as donor, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as resource partner, the project is implemented by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Office (RAP), within the framework of the MFF initiative. Technical assistance was provided by the USAID Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) Program, the UN-REDD Programme and US-based Spatial Informatics Group —Natural Assets Laboratory (SIG-NAL) organisation. Nick Beresnev from ICEM is coordinating and provided technical input to the project.

The new mechanism is presented as a series of four publications that are now available to download. The reports are designed to be used collectively to guide the establishment of a sustainable financing for mangrove protection. Links to the documents are now also available on the ICEM website. The four reports are:

The Final Workshop for the project will be held on 20-21 December 2016 at Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop seeks to share information on project outputs with mangrove experts and stakeholders in Pakistan, Thailand and Viet Nam. It also seeks to identify ways to pilot and ensure the uptake of the new low-cost mechanism developed by the project. Specific objectives of the workshop are:

  • To share information on project outputs, focusing on the low-cost mangrove monitoring, carbon estimating, and incentive allocation mechanism for mangrove protection.
  • To collect expert and stakeholder feedback on project outputs.
  • To identify partners and sources of funding to pilot the new mechanism in project countries.

Around 40 participants are expected to attend, including:

  • Experts in mangroves and carbon, preferably with knowledge of community development, micro-finance, carbon marketing, corporate relations, forestry and small-scale fisheries
  • Representatives from government agencies in target countries, international and national NGOs, development agencies active in mangrove protection, and potential private-sector partners
  • MFF, FAO, UN-REDD and USAID staff involved in the project.

For further detail on the publications and the workshop, please contact Nikolai (Nick) Beresnev on nick.beresnev@icem.com.au.