Fiona Nunan co-author of new Climate Compatible Development article

Drawing on research funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network and Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation, the article undertakes economic valuation of mangrove forests in Gazi Bay, Kenya, to compare a business-as-usual scenario with a more climate compatible development future, one that seeks to achieve a ‘triple win’ situation of climate mitigation, adaptation to climate change and development outcomes. The article draws on findings from the following projects:

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Mark Huxham, M., Emerton, L., Kairo, J., Munyi, F., Abdirizak, H., Hillams, T., Nunan, F. and Briers, R. (2015) Applying Climate Compatible Development and economic valuation to coastal management: A case study of Kenya's mangrove forests, Journal of Environmental Management, 157, 168-181.


Mangrove forests are under global pressure. Habitat destruction and degradation persist despite longstanding recognition of the important ecological functions of mangroves. Hence new approaches are needed to help stakeholders and policy-makers achieve sound management that is informed by the best science. Here we explore how the new policy concept of Climate Compatible Development (CCD) can be applied to achieve better outcomes. We use economic valuation approaches to combine socio-economic data, projections of forest cover based on quantitative risk mapping and storyline scenario building exercises to articulate the economic consequences of plausible alternative future scenarios for the mangrove forests of the South Kenya coast, as a case study of relevance to many other areas. Using data from 645 household surveys, 10 focus groups and 74 interviews conducted across four mangrove sites, and combining these with information on fish catches taken at three landing sites, a mangrove carbon trading project and published data allowed us to make a thorough (although still partial) economic valuation of the forests. This gave a current value of the South Coast mangroves of USD 6.5 million, or USD 1166 ha−1, with 59% of this value on average derived from regulating services. Quantitative risk mapping, projecting recent trends over the next twenty years, suggests a 43% loss of forest cover over that time with 100% loss at the most vulnerable sites. Much of the forest lost between 1992 and 2012 has not been replaced by high value alternative land uses hence restoration of these areas is feasible and may not involve large opportunity costs. We invited thirty eight stakeholders to develop plausible storyline scenarios reflecting Business as Usual (BAU) and CCD – which emphasises sustainable forest conservation and management – in twenty years time, drawing on local and regional expert knowledge of relevant policy, social trends and cultures. Combining these scenarios with the quantitative projections and economic baseline allowed the modelling of likely value added and costs avoided under the CCD scenario. This suggests a net present value of more than US$20 million of adoption of CCD rather than BAU. This work adds to the economic evidence for mangrove conservation and helps to underline the importance of new real and emerging markets, such as for REDD + projects, in making this case for carbon-rich coastal habitats. It demonstrates a policy tool – CCD – that can be used to engage stakeholders and help to co-ordinate policy across different sectors towards mangrove conservation.