Completed Research

Mangrove Conservation and Blue Carbon Initiatives in Coastal Kenya

University of Toronto

2.5 million Kenyans live in communities that are adjacent to mangrove forests. Mangroves are vital to costal communities’ food sources, potable water, building material, and medicine. However, mangrove coverage has decreased by 50% in the past 50 years. In 2019, the Vanga Blue Forest project expanded upon the world’s first mangrove restoration project funded through carbon credits. In this community-led initiative, funds are used to reforest and to support community-championed infrastructure projects. This case study will investigate the Mangrove conservation and carbon trading program in Vanga, Kenya.

Hard to Reach

Remote coastal villages in Kenya that are geographically and socioeconomically hard to reach and vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Key Takeaways

Mikoko Pamoja (MP) and the Vanga Blue Forest (VBF) projects are among the first carbon credit projects, with the MP pilot being the first in the world, to leverage blue carbon conservation to generate resources for development in otherwise hard-to-reach communities. These illustrative cases shed light on how conservation can be both sustainable and economically beneficial in communities with low income by:

  • Aligning Incentives. Ongoing investment in sustainable practices requires incentives that are aligned with the needs, interests, and priorities of key stakeholders.
  • Leadership. Successful local carbon projects require strong leadership, specifically principled commitments among community leaders to mangrove conservation and to addressing climate change more generally.
  • Local Participation. Success depends on local participation and engagement at every stage.
  • Long-term Planning. A long-term project plan is required for carbon reduction permanence to ensure the validity and value of the carbon credits.
  • Clarifying Governance and Policy Framework. The carbon market is still relatively new and has been described by many as the “wild west.” Regulatory strengthening will help address the skepticism surrounding carbon credit markets