‘Carbon credits’ often reward industry or large landowners for reducing the global greenhouse gas load. Could such programmes be designed to help the rural poor preserve the ecosystems they rely on? Swahili Seas, the first carbon credit project for mangrove forest conservation, is demonstrating how to run such community-based schemes and channel funds back to an entire village, while meeting expectations of the international carbon market. Innovative solutions from the Kenya-based project, such as a new carbon accounting scheme, may help similar initiatives spread through the developing world. For Kenyan policymakers, the research team has mapped out the potential value of mangroves across the country and is talking with officials about how the Swahili Seas approach could fit into the UN’s REDD programme. An East African policy forum has been created to exchange information on related work across the region.
ESPA. Mangroves to Market: The first mangrove carbon credit project is assessing coastal forests’ potential in new ways. ESPA, UK (2011) 2 pp.