CAMARV: Capacity Building for Mangrove Assessment, Restoration and Valuation in East Africa

Lead Research Organisation: Edinburgh Napier University
Department Name: Life Sciences


Mangroves are tropical and sub-tropical forests that grow in the inter-tidal zone. They are valuable for many reasons: they provide shelter for juvenile fish, they protect shorelines from erosion, they filter sediments and pollution out of rivers and their wood can be used for timber and fuel. They are also amongst the most productive ecosystems on earth and are capable of storing large quantities of carbon both above-ground (as wood) and below-ground (as dead roots and carbon particles derived from the sea, and eventually as peat). This means losing them could accelerate global warming. Despite their importance, mangroves are being lost rapidly, with 1-2% of these forests destroyed each year. This project aims to help conserve and restore mangroves in East Africa. We will do this by developing the expertise and capacity needed to exploit new and emerging markets for 'ecosystem services'. In East Africa, most mangrove destruction occurs because of poverty; people need fuel and building materials and cannot afford to buy them from other sources, so use the mangroves despite often being aware of their importance. If money was available to communities for mangrove conservation and restoration this would provide a powerful conservation incentive. Our project consortium has experience in running community based forestry projects, including one in Mozambique that utilises voluntary payments for carbon sequestration by western companies and individuals to fund new tree planting and conservation. We will apply this experience to mangroves. We will train African scientists, NGO and community workers in a range of skills, and develop networks and methodologies that will help our African partner institutions exploit these new market opportunities. This will require training and development at each stage of the following project development plan: 1) Assessment of extent and quality of ecosystem We need to know how much mangrove forest is present and whether it is in good health (or for example whether is has been heavily poached for wood). This can be done using satellite imagery, but work on the ground ('groundtruthing') will be needed to relate the images to the reality, for example to determine the characteristic features of degraded woodland. 2) Assessment of threats We need to know which forests are most threatened, for example by looking at patterns of past land use or by measuring risk factors such as proximity to large cities. This is important for governments in their conservation planning, but also may be required in order to access conservation money from the new REDD (Reductions in Emissions from forest Destruction and Degradation) fund developed by the United Nations. 3) Assessment of ecosystem value We need to demonstrate the potential monetary value of the mangrove ecosystems, by 'pricing' the various services they provide. In some cases this will be useful as a tool for influencing decision makers - by giving a demonstration in 'hard cash' of the costs of destroying a mangrove - and in others it could translate to real income - for example by calculating the total value of the above and below ground carbon stored. 4) Assessment of barriers to the market or to conservation What factors are likely to prevent projects working successfully, and how can we address these? For example, it is essential that local communities see the benefits of any projects run on their behalf. This will require careful consultation and co-operation with local people and sensitivity to issues such as land management and tenure. We will train partners in techniques of participatory appraisal and in using GIS technology in mapping local resources. The results of this project development process will be proposals for full pilot projects and the establishment of an East African Advisory Group, based in Kenya, that will help oversee projects and encourage communication and good practice in the region.


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Description This grant was for building capacity amongst mangrove scientists and technicians in Kenya
Exploitation Route we established the East African Forum for Payments for Ecosystem Services which has run a number of successful events. We trained scientists who have gone on to publish and achieve permanent academic posts
Sectors Environment

Description this is a web based tool that allows managers, planners and researchers to identify areas of high mangrove quality and carbon density in Kenya this web tool was developed by the trainees under expert supervision and then taken further by the professional team. It is now ready for use as a planning tool by managers
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Statement of support for REDD + process
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health