Swahili Seas (2011 - 12)

Researchers:

Professor Mark Huxham, Edinburgh Napier University, Dr Maurizio Mencuccini, University of Edinburgh, Professor Colin Price, Dr Martin Skov and Dr Lewis Le Vay, University of Bangor, Dr Fiona Nunan, University of Birmingham, Dr James Gitundu Kairo and Jacob Ochiewo, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute and Dr Richard Tipper, Ecometrica.

Funder:

ESRC/NERC/DFID Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation

Project aims

The Swahili Seas project is based in Gazi Bay, Kenya, and aims to link local coastal communities with global carbon trading to support the conservation of an area of mangrove forest in exchange for payments which will be used to support community development. Mangrove forests are highly productive and efficient at capturing carbon, much of which ends up buried below ground and can therefore be permanently stored away from the atmosphere. This opens up possibilities for using payments for carbon credits to help mangrove conservation and to bring revenue for local people.

The research is supporting the communities of Gazi Bay in establishing a Community Forest Association, known as Mikoko Pamoja (‘mangroves together’), seeking certification under Plan Vivo, mapping the value of carbon and establishing a baseline against which improvements in livelihoods and community development will be measured as the payments are made. The generation of a socio-economic baseline and the establishment of the CFA involve research on how the mangrove forests are used and managed. Dr Nunan is supporting the design, implementation and analysis of a household survey, participatory research methods and key informant interviews to generate data on livelihoods and institutional arrangements in relation to mangrove use and governance.

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