Capturing Carbon in Kenyan Communities

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Capturing Carbon in Kenyan Communities
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Capturing Carbon in Kenyan Communities

Dr. Mark Huxham can often be found up to his knees in mud in the coastal mangrove forests of Kenya. But Earthwatch’s Jo-Anne Croft caught up with him recently during his visit to our U.K. office in Oxford to learn more about how Mark’s project will benefit from the global carbon market.

Mark’s project has recently been accredited by Plan Vivo,  a not-for-profit certification body for community-based payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs. This will allow Mark and his team to generate funding by selling credits on the global carbon market to fund conservation, community, and education projects in Kenya’s Gazi Bay.

Mark says, “Mangroves are amongst the most efficient natural carbon sinks and it is essential that the world find ways to protect them. Payments for carbon credits provide an exciting new possibility for their conservation. Our project (‘Mikoko Pamoja’ or ‘mangroves together’) aims to demonstrate how this can work for the benefit of local people and for the ecosystem as a whole.”

Listen to Mark unravel the complexities of carbon trading, share how Kenyan communities will benefit from this groundbreaking initiative, and explain the vital role that Earthwatch volunteers have played in securing accreditation for his project.

Mangrove Fast Facts

  • Mangrove forests are found in the intertidal zone of tropical and subtropical coastal regions.
  • Mangroves account for only around 0.4 percent of all forests worldwide, but they are highly effective natural sinks for  carbon, in some cases capturing up to six times more carbon per hectare than undisturbed rainforests.
  • This capacity makes them a valuable tool in combating climate change and means that there is significant potential for funding their restoration through the global carbon market.
  • Mangroves provide multiple services, including coastal protection, provision of nursery habitat for fish, and filtration of pollution and sediments, making them a conservation priority.
  • Mangroves saved many lives in the 2004 Asian tsunami by absorbing the power of the wave, and since then there has been a surge in mangrove restoration efforts. Currently, however, mangrove restoration is often ineffective because of lack of scientific knowledge and because local people lack the financial incentives and wider benefits of engaging in mangrove protection.

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