Impact update: Swahili Seas

Here are the latest updates from the ESPA project Swahili Seas. Lead researcher Professor Mark Huxham and his team:

- have produced a risk map for mangrove forests in Kenya. This will be used by policy makers to identify the forests at highest risk and also to consider those factors that need control. The model has been submitted as a paper to Global Change Biology.

- were pleased to see that their maps of mangrove cover were not only being used by the Kenyan Fisheries Ministry as planned, but that the maps had also been passed to their Forestry counterparts who are feeding the data into the national REDD+ process.

- are establishing a new charity, the Association for Coastal Ecosystem Services. The charity will allow for the transparent and tax efficient transfer of funds from northern donors and investors to local communities as payments for ecosystem services.

- are awaiting final validation of their community payments for ecosystem services project. A confirmation of tenureship for the community from the Kenyan government is needed before the project can be accredited and they sell carbon credits.

- organised for the elected representatives from the villages neighbouring the mangrove ecosystem to go on a fact-finding visit to a carbon project elsewhere in Kenya, to observe the opportunities and challenges involved in payments for ecosystem services.