Mangrove conservation is protecting both livelihoods and carbon stores

Authors Directorate, E.S.P.A.
Year of Publication 2018
Type of Publication Impact Story


In Kenya, research supported by the ESPA programme has enabled local people to conserve their mangroves in exchange for community development projects, in a scheme that is impacting both Kenyan and international policy. Mangroves are highly efficient at capturing carbon, much of which ends up buried below ground and is stored away from the atmosphere.

The initiative researched the mangroves’ total potential to store carbon below ground, and the vulnerability of this carbon if the mangroves were cut. The team quantified the amount by which carbon dioxide emissions increased when mangrove trees die, and then an associated conservation scheme, known as Mikoko Pamoja (‘mangroves together’), engaged communities to restore thousands of new trees along the coastline. This meant the community could apply for accreditation to sell carbon credits through the voluntary carbon market, receiving an income for their conservation.

The sale of carbon credits has now raised US$52,758 and is funding new conservation and community projects.

Further research found that seagrass meadows also store carbon, presenting new conservation opportunities.