Turning the Tide: How Blue Carbon and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) Might Help Save Mangrove Forests
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In this review paper, we aim to describe the potential for, and the key challenges to, applying PES projects to mangroves. By adopting a “carbocentric approach,” we show that mangrove forests are strong candidates for PES projects. They are particularly well suited to the generation of carbon credits because of their unrivaled potential as carbon sinks, their resistance and resilience to natural hazards, and their extensive provision of Ecosystem Services other than carbon sequestration, primarily nursery areas for fish, water purification and coastal protection, to the benefit of local communities as well as to the global population. The voluntary carbon market provides opportunities for the development of appropriate protocols and good practice case studies for mangroves at a small scale, and these may influence larger compliance schemes in the future. Mangrove habitats are mostly located in developing countries on communally or state-owned land. This means that issues of national and local governance, land ownership and management, and environmental justice are the main challenges that require careful planning at the early stages of mangrove PES projects to ensure successful outcomes and equitable benefit sharing within local communities.
KeywordsMangroves PES Carbon credits Environmental justice Carbon standards Natural Hazards
This work was funded with support from the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme (ESPA, Grant numbers NE/I002952/1 and NE/I003401/1). The ESPA programme is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). It benefited from discussions with many colleagues including Jared Bosire, Martin Skov, Dave Hillyard, Sam Burgess, and Maurizio Mencuccini and from the long-term support of our work by the Earthwatch Institute. An earlier draft was improved following helpful comments from two anonymous referees.
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