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  • Drivers of CO2 along a mangrove-seagrass transect in a tropical bay: Delayed groundwater seepage and seagrass uptake

Drivers of CO2 along a mangrove-seagrass transect in a tropical bay: Delayed groundwater seepage and seagrass uptake

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Water-to-air carbon dioxide fluxes from tropical coastal waters are an important but understudied component of the marine carbon budget. Here, we investigate drivers of carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2) in a relatively pristine mangrove-seagrass embayment on a tropical island (Bali, Indonesia). Observations were performed over eight underway seasonal surveys and a fixed location time series for 55 h. There was a large spatial variability of pCO2 across the continuum of mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and the coastal ocean. Overall, the embayment waters surrounded by mangroves released CO2 to the atmosphere with a net flux rate of 18.1 ± 5.8 mmol m-2 d-1. Seagrass beds produced an overall CO2 net flux rate of 2.5 ± 3.4 mmol m-2 d-1, although 2 out of 8 surveys revealed a sink of CO2 in the seagrass area. The mouth of the bay where coral calcification occurs was a minor source of CO2 (0.3 ± 0.4 mmol m-2 d-1). The overall average CO2 flux to the atmosphere along the transect was 9.8 ± 6.0 mmol m-2 d-1, or 3.6 × 103 mol d-1 CO2 when upscaled to the entire embayment area. There were no clear seasonal patterns in contrast to better studied temperate systems. pCO2 significantly correlated with antecedent rainfall and the natural groundwater tracer radon (222Rn) during each survey. We suggest that the CO2 source in the mangrove dominated upper bay was associated with delayed groundwater inputs, and a shifting CO2 source-sink in the lower bay was driven by the uptake of CO2 by seagrass and mixing with oceanic waters. This differs from modified landscapes where potential uptake of CO2 is weakened due to the degradation of seagrass beds, or emissions are increased due to drainage of coastal wetlands.

View publication here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2018.10.008

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  • Sharing the risk of blue carbon investment in 'era of SDGs'

Sharing the risk of blue carbon investment in ‘era of SDGs’

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The public and private sectors must join forces to finance blue carbon, in order to reap social, environmental and economic returns from the ecosystems. 

The Blue Carbon Summit on July 16-17 in Jakarta, Indonesia, clarified the importance of learning and disseminating more about coastal ecosystems. During the event, one of the discussion forums honed in on these at-risk ecosystems, looking in particular at the payment mechanisms needed to keep blue carbon intact.

Financing blue carbon development addressed how to best use the available funding; no matter what kind of payments are on offer, the discussion explored why blue carbon should be accounted for among stakeholders.

Medrilzam, Director for Environmental Affairs at Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), highlighted the importance of incorporating blue carbon into efforts to achieve to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), describing the current environment as “the era of SDGs”.

Watch: Financing blue carbon development

SDG 13 on climate action, he said, was the anchor for several other goals, including sustainable cities and communities; life below water; and life on land. Bappenas had never before included blue carbon as an aspect of discussions at national or regional levels, he explained, but is now factoring it in when measuring emission reductions, as Indonesia moves towards its targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) 26% by 2020 and 29% by 2030.

In particular, he highlighted Bappenas’ low carbon development plan, a new development platform aimed at sustaining economic and social growth through low GHG emissions and minimizing the exploitation of natural resources. However, he stressed the need to consider interlinkages, saying that blue carbon related to the economy or the population, and vice versa.

“We cannot just rely on government financing. We know we have limited capacity,” he said, adding that development agencies needed to be imaginative about dealing with emerging forms of innovative finance.

Felia Salim, from the Board of Directors at &Green Fund and Sail Ventures, explained that &Green Fund related to land use, but its model could be replicated for blue carbon by looking at the concept of blended finance.

Mangroves grow along the water’s edge in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

“We need to understand, when we talk about finance, that this is really about linking it to the market,” she said. “We are trying to correct the market forces.”

In terms of blended finance, Salim suggested that the conventional financial sector may not yet fully understand how to mitigate risks related to blue carbon, and therefore has a low appetite for them. Thus, it is all about “absorbing some of the risks that cannot be absorbed by the conventional financial sector.”

“This is the blended part. It’s really sharing the risk,” she said. “Basically the public fund is taking up a portion of the risk — that’s the basic principle of blended finance.”

According to Salim, climate risk and strategy must be incorporated into planning, and such strategies should not only account for economic return, but also environmental returns such as the number of hectares of forest that have been conserved, and social inclusion factors such as jobs created or improvements for smallholder suppliers.

“If you don’t involve stakeholders in the area, it won’t be sustainable,” she stressed, adding that companies which had seriously implemented environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk into their strategies have shown to be performing better as a result.

“The social and environmental returns make economic sense,” she said, “because what you want is […] business that is sustainable, that lasts,” reiterating that &Green Fund is trying to finance a gap that the conventional financial sector cannot absorb.

Read also: Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

Mangroves and sandbanks protect the shore in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

Ecotourism is another route to preserving nature while also providing incomes, as outlined by Bustar Maitar, Director of Kurabesi Nusantara Indonesia, a social enterprise offering liveaboard diving tours in eastern Indonesia.

Despite hundreds of comparable boats operating in the archipelago, Maitar said only 12 were Indonesian owned, representing a big growth opportunity for Indonesian investment.

Continuing the investment conversation, Fitrian Adriansyah, chairman of the executive board of IDH (Sustainable Trade Initiative) Indonesia, discussed how IDH invests in collaboration with the private sector.

“We believe sustainable production and trade can transform markets for the benefit of people and the planet,” he said. There is a need to promote greater understanding between the public and private sectors, he added, which “cannot be done if we cannot bridge the gap in terms of understanding the risk when it comes to investment in blue carbon.”

IDH, which invests in commodities, including aquaculture and mangroves, purports to seek impact rather than financial return. Responding to concerns that aquaculture is seen as an “enemy” of blue carbon efforts, Adriansyah said IDH’s criteria in selecting investment opportunities comprised improved productivity; protecting remaining forests; and the inclusion of villagers, smallholders or the community.

Finally, Muhammad Senang Semibiring, a Senior Advisor to the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (KEHATI), outlined private financing through a community-based coastal carbon corridor initiative. KEHATI, the first and largest biodiversity conservation trust fund in Indonesia, was begun 25 years ago and makes use of public-private partnerships toward the achievement of SDG 17.

By investing in natural solutions, many elements of coastal areas can be protected. There can be economic benefits in doing so, including for the lives of community members. In identifying the challenges facing the financing of blue carbon initiatives, stakeholders can assess these returns and – as evidenced by the discussions at the Blue Carbon Summit – achieve social and economic benefits as well as environmental advantages.

Read also: Seagrass meadows: Underutilized and over-damaged carbon sinks

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator. 

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  • Sharing the risk of blue carbon investment in 'era of SDGs'

Sharing the risk of blue carbon investment in ‘era of SDGs’

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The public and private sectors must join forces to finance blue carbon, in order to reap social, environmental and economic returns from the ecosystems. 

The Blue Carbon Summit on July 16-17 in Jakarta, Indonesia, clarified the importance of learning and disseminating more about coastal ecosystems. During the event, one of the discussion forums honed in on these at-risk ecosystems, looking in particular at the payment mechanisms needed to keep blue carbon intact.

Financing blue carbon development addressed how to best use the available funding; no matter what kind of payments are on offer, the discussion explored why blue carbon should be accounted for among stakeholders.

Medrilzam, Director for Environmental Affairs at Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), highlighted the importance of incorporating blue carbon into efforts to achieve to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), describing the current environment as “the era of SDGs”.

Watch: Financing blue carbon development

SDG 13 on climate action, he said, was the anchor for several other goals, including sustainable cities and communities; life below water; and life on land. Bappenas had never before included blue carbon as an aspect of discussions at national or regional levels, he explained, but is now factoring it in when measuring emission reductions, as Indonesia moves towards its targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) 26% by 2020 and 29% by 2030.

In particular, he highlighted Bappenas’ low carbon development plan, a new development platform aimed at sustaining economic and social growth through low GHG emissions and minimizing the exploitation of natural resources. However, he stressed the need to consider interlinkages, saying that blue carbon related to the economy or the population, and vice versa.

“We cannot just rely on government financing. We know we have limited capacity,” he said, adding that development agencies needed to be imaginative about dealing with emerging forms of innovative finance.

Felia Salim, from the Board of Directors at &Green Fund and Sail Ventures, explained that &Green Fund related to land use, but its model could be replicated for blue carbon by looking at the concept of blended finance.

Mangroves grow along the water’s edge in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

“We need to understand, when we talk about finance, that this is really about linking it to the market,” she said. “We are trying to correct the market forces.”

In terms of blended finance, Salim suggested that the conventional financial sector may not yet fully understand how to mitigate risks related to blue carbon, and therefore has a low appetite for them. Thus, it is all about “absorbing some of the risks that cannot be absorbed by the conventional financial sector.”

“This is the blended part. It’s really sharing the risk,” she said. “Basically the public fund is taking up a portion of the risk — that’s the basic principle of blended finance.”

According to Salim, climate risk and strategy must be incorporated into planning, and such strategies should not only account for economic return, but also environmental returns such as the number of hectares of forest that have been conserved, and social inclusion factors such as jobs created or improvements for smallholder suppliers.

“If you don’t involve stakeholders in the area, it won’t be sustainable,” she stressed, adding that companies which had seriously implemented environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk into their strategies have shown to be performing better as a result.

“The social and environmental returns make economic sense,” she said, “because what you want is […] business that is sustainable, that lasts,” reiterating that &Green Fund is trying to finance a gap that the conventional financial sector cannot absorb.

Read also: Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

Mangroves and sandbanks protect the shore in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

Ecotourism is another route to preserving nature while also providing incomes, as outlined by Bustar Maitar, Director of Kurabesi Nusantara Indonesia, a social enterprise offering liveaboard diving tours in eastern Indonesia.

Despite hundreds of comparable boats operating in the archipelago, Maitar said only 12 were Indonesian owned, representing a big growth opportunity for Indonesian investment.

Continuing the investment conversation, Fitrian Adriansyah, chairman of the executive board of IDH (Sustainable Trade Initiative) Indonesia, discussed how IDH invests in collaboration with the private sector.

“We believe sustainable production and trade can transform markets for the benefit of people and the planet,” he said. There is a need to promote greater understanding between the public and private sectors, he added, which “cannot be done if we cannot bridge the gap in terms of understanding the risk when it comes to investment in blue carbon.”

IDH, which invests in commodities, including aquaculture and mangroves, purports to seek impact rather than financial return. Responding to concerns that aquaculture is seen as an “enemy” of blue carbon efforts, Adriansyah said IDH’s criteria in selecting investment opportunities comprised improved productivity; protecting remaining forests; and the inclusion of villagers, smallholders or the community.

Finally, Muhammad Senang Semibiring, a Senior Advisor to the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (KEHATI), outlined private financing through a community-based coastal carbon corridor initiative. KEHATI, the first and largest biodiversity conservation trust fund in Indonesia, was begun 25 years ago and makes use of public-private partnerships toward the achievement of SDG 17.

By investing in natural solutions, many elements of coastal areas can be protected. There can be economic benefits in doing so, including for the lives of community members. In identifying the challenges facing the financing of blue carbon initiatives, stakeholders can assess these returns and – as evidenced by the discussions at the Blue Carbon Summit – achieve social and economic benefits as well as environmental advantages.

Read also: Seagrass meadows: Underutilized and over-damaged carbon sinks

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator. 

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  • Opening plenary of the Blue Carbon Summit 2018

Opening plenary of the Blue Carbon Summit 2018

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The opening plenary will put into perspective the importance of blue carbon in both national and global agenda. High-level policymakers and prominent experts will emphasize blue carbon’s potential to mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable economic development. The session is expected to trigger dialogues across sector and stakeholders concern with blue carbon issues during the summit.

Originally published by CIFOR.

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  • Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Daniel Murdiyarso, CIFOR Principal Scientist and IPB professor, speaks during the opening plenary of the Blue Carbon Summit. Photo by AIPI

Failing to properly manage “blue carbon” ecosystems could result in biodiversity losses, pronounced climate change effects and negative impacts on people’s livelihoods, and could even affect the internet. 

The Blue Carbon Summit held on July 17-18 in Jakarta, Indonesia, covered everything from the most well-known blue carbon ecosystems of mangroves and seagrass to coral reefs, the fish industry, ecotourism, plastic waste, shipping emissions and offshore mining.

Over two days, scientists, government, the private sector, media and likeminded community members came together for discussions that called for coordinated efforts to address issues related to blue carbon.

Blue carbon is that which is stored in coastal ecosystems, in contrast to “green carbon” stored in plants, trees and soil. In comparison to the attention paid to the carbon sequestered by forests, blue carbon has thus far remained relatively under the radar – but this belies its importance.

“We are here to correct an imbalance,” said Robert Nasi, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), during the summit opening, referring to the global focus on issues such as deforestation and greenhouse gases. “What is happening in coastal areas seems a bit forgotten. It’s a great time for us to bring that to the fore.”

Sixty percent of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, where vital infrastructure can also be found worldwide, Nasi explained, underscoring the importance of both scientists and policymakers understanding how the ecosystems work and how they can be restored. “Coastal ecosystems are fundamental for the survival of the species, for ecosystem services, for biodiversity, and for blue carbon,” he added.

“If we don’t do anything about these coastal areas, about blue carbon ecosystems, what is going to happen to us?” Nasi asked, pointing out that aside from people’s livelihoods and biodiversity in coastal areas being at stake, major infrastructure such as fiber-optic cables is often below sea level and could theoretically end up under water. “So if we don’t do something, we may also lose some part of the internet.”

Read also: Coastal blue carbon from planted mangroves holds promise

Policymakers and scientific experts came together to discuss blue carbon’s potential to mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable economic development during the summit. Photo by AIPI

“We think that this is the right time to work on this topic because of a critical mass already sharing their knowledge, already having results,” said Daniel Murdiyarso, Principal Scientist at CIFOR, which coorganized the summit, and professor in the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB).

“So we want to sit together and see how this can be provided for the government, to make a science-based recommendation related to blue carbon.”

Murdiyarso expressed his hope that findings from the summit could be mainstreamed into the public agenda and connected to the Paris agreement on climate change, especially given blue carbon’s clear links to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read also: Focus on mangroves: Blue carbon science for sustainable development

Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) President Satrio Sumantri Brodjonegoro concurred, saying that the discussions were expected to identify gaps hindering the mainstreaming of blue carbon in the national agenda and to pave the way for blue carbon development in Indonesia. As the world’s largest archipelago, with 99,000 kilometers of coastline, the country is well-placed to not only set its own path but also to set a global example.

After the opening plenary on Day 1, subplenary sessions looked at the roles of non-state actors and the donor community. Following that, a series of parallel discussion forums considered the fishing industry, marine tourism and the shipping industry, governance systems, financing blue carbon development, hydrodynamic and sustainable coastal resources, and seagrass and climate change.

Day 2 began with a keynote speech from Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, before subplenary sessions on international partnerships and a high-level forum of government representatives. The day was rounded out with parallel discussion forums on subsidence, sedimentation and sea-level rises, and mangroves and climate.

The discussions from the summit are expected to be developed into a white paper, set to cover the following points.

  • Blue carbon in both open ocean and coastal ecosystems, including mangroves and seagrasses, is important for climate change mitigation because of its significant carbon storage capacity compared with terrestrial ecosystems. These ecosystems also offer significant climate change adaptation opportunities, especially in helping coastal regions keep pace with sea level rise.
  • Blue carbon ecosystems provide numerous services to people and now is the time to consider their role in developing alternative livelihoods. Sustainable ecotourism, fisheries and shellfish farming are all industries that generate direct economic benefits while protecting intact mangroves.
  • Conservation and restoration are essential components of the blue carbon economy
  • Implementation of a blue carbon economy needs to take into consideration more than just carbon, and should encompass economic sectors such as fisheries, ecotourism, transportation and shipping.
  • Due to complex history and geography, governance structures and institutionalizing the blue carbon economy have posed considerable challenges in the past.
  • Mechanisms to finance the blue carbon economy must reflect the unique benefits and challenges of blue carbon and help overcome institutional biases.
  • The participation of local communities is essential to establishing the blue carbon economy
  • While the level of understanding of blue carbon is sufficient, capacity development will require stakeholders to be better connected.
  • To put blue carbon on national and global agendas, there must be a stronger coalition within and between government agencies to engage a wider network of stakeholders.
  • Partnerships are key to the success of achieving national and global objectives and goals. Learning lessons from partners is cost effective and therefore should be encouraged, while opportunities for greater cooperation should be enhanced.
A mangrove forest thrives in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

“Improved policies and implementation of blue carbon initiatives in the context of addressing climate change certainly cannot be done by one country. This effort requires coordination and engagement of all elements of development, at the national and regional levels – with the support of all parties including governments, private sector, communities as well as national and international development partners,” Gellwynn Yusuf, representing Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS), said in closing the event.

This could be a mechanism for Indonesia to achieve SDGs, particularly by meeting Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) while also improving economic factors. While acknowledging that coordination among agencies was important, and that some financing challenges remained to be solved, Yusuf called on the international community to support Indonesia’s efforts in making blue carbon a key policy for combating the negative impacts of climate change.

“As the global leader in blue carbon ecosystems, Indonesia has an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership and set the direction internationally for other countries,” he said.

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator. 


The Blue Carbon Summit was organized by AIPI, CIFOR, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF). 

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

Failure to manage blue carbon ecosystems could break the internet 

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Daniel Murdiyarso, CIFOR Principal Scientist and IPB professor, speaks during the opening plenary of the Blue Carbon Summit. Photo by AIPI

Failing to properly manage “blue carbon” ecosystems could result in biodiversity losses, pronounced climate change effects and negative impacts on people’s livelihoods, and could even affect the internet. 

The Blue Carbon Summit held on July 17-18 in Jakarta, Indonesia, covered everything from the most well-known blue carbon ecosystems of mangroves and seagrass to coral reefs, the fish industry, ecotourism, plastic waste, shipping emissions and offshore mining.

Over two days, scientists, government, the private sector, media and likeminded community members came together for discussions that called for coordinated efforts to address issues related to blue carbon.

Blue carbon is that which is stored in coastal ecosystems, in contrast to “green carbon” stored in plants, trees and soil. In comparison to the attention paid to the carbon sequestered by forests, blue carbon has thus far remained relatively under the radar – but this belies its importance.

“We are here to correct an imbalance,” said Robert Nasi, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), during the summit opening, referring to the global focus on issues such as deforestation and greenhouse gases. “What is happening in coastal areas seems a bit forgotten. It’s a great time for us to bring that to the fore.”

Sixty percent of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, where vital infrastructure can also be found worldwide, Nasi explained, underscoring the importance of both scientists and policymakers understanding how the ecosystems work and how they can be restored. “Coastal ecosystems are fundamental for the survival of the species, for ecosystem services, for biodiversity, and for blue carbon,” he added.

“If we don’t do anything about these coastal areas, about blue carbon ecosystems, what is going to happen to us?” Nasi asked, pointing out that aside from people’s livelihoods and biodiversity in coastal areas being at stake, major infrastructure such as fiber-optic cables is often below sea level and could theoretically end up under water. “So if we don’t do something, we may also lose some part of the internet.”

Read also: Coastal blue carbon from planted mangroves holds promise

Policymakers and scientific experts came together to discuss blue carbon’s potential to mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable economic development during the summit. Photo by AIPI

“We think that this is the right time to work on this topic because of a critical mass already sharing their knowledge, already having results,” said Daniel Murdiyarso, Principal Scientist at CIFOR, which coorganized the summit, and professor in the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB).

“So we want to sit together and see how this can be provided for the government, to make a science-based recommendation related to blue carbon.”

Murdiyarso expressed his hope that findings from the summit could be mainstreamed into the public agenda and connected to the Paris agreement on climate change, especially given blue carbon’s clear links to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read also: Focus on mangroves: Blue carbon science for sustainable development

Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) President Satrio Sumantri Brodjonegoro concurred, saying that the discussions were expected to identify gaps hindering the mainstreaming of blue carbon in the national agenda and to pave the way for blue carbon development in Indonesia. As the world’s largest archipelago, with 99,000 kilometers of coastline, the country is well-placed to not only set its own path but also to set a global example.

After the opening plenary on Day 1, subplenary sessions looked at the roles of non-state actors and the donor community. Following that, a series of parallel discussion forums considered the fishing industry, marine tourism and the shipping industry, governance systems, financing blue carbon development, hydrodynamic and sustainable coastal resources, and seagrass and climate change.

Day 2 began with a keynote speech from Indonesia’s Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, before subplenary sessions on international partnerships and a high-level forum of government representatives. The day was rounded out with parallel discussion forums on subsidence, sedimentation and sea-level rises, and mangroves and climate.

The discussions from the summit are expected to be developed into a white paper, set to cover the following points.

  • Blue carbon in both open ocean and coastal ecosystems, including mangroves and seagrasses, is important for climate change mitigation because of its significant carbon storage capacity compared with terrestrial ecosystems. These ecosystems also offer significant climate change adaptation opportunities, especially in helping coastal regions keep pace with sea level rise.
  • Blue carbon ecosystems provide numerous services to people and now is the time to consider their role in developing alternative livelihoods. Sustainable ecotourism, fisheries and shellfish farming are all industries that generate direct economic benefits while protecting intact mangroves.
  • Conservation and restoration are essential components of the blue carbon economy
  • Implementation of a blue carbon economy needs to take into consideration more than just carbon, and should encompass economic sectors such as fisheries, ecotourism, transportation and shipping.
  • Due to complex history and geography, governance structures and institutionalizing the blue carbon economy have posed considerable challenges in the past.
  • Mechanisms to finance the blue carbon economy must reflect the unique benefits and challenges of blue carbon and help overcome institutional biases.
  • The participation of local communities is essential to establishing the blue carbon economy
  • While the level of understanding of blue carbon is sufficient, capacity development will require stakeholders to be better connected.
  • To put blue carbon on national and global agendas, there must be a stronger coalition within and between government agencies to engage a wider network of stakeholders.
  • Partnerships are key to the success of achieving national and global objectives and goals. Learning lessons from partners is cost effective and therefore should be encouraged, while opportunities for greater cooperation should be enhanced.
A mangrove forest thrives in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

“Improved policies and implementation of blue carbon initiatives in the context of addressing climate change certainly cannot be done by one country. This effort requires coordination and engagement of all elements of development, at the national and regional levels – with the support of all parties including governments, private sector, communities as well as national and international development partners,” Gellwynn Yusuf, representing Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS), said in closing the event.

This could be a mechanism for Indonesia to achieve SDGs, particularly by meeting Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) while also improving economic factors. While acknowledging that coordination among agencies was important, and that some financing challenges remained to be solved, Yusuf called on the international community to support Indonesia’s efforts in making blue carbon a key policy for combating the negative impacts of climate change.

“As the global leader in blue carbon ecosystems, Indonesia has an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership and set the direction internationally for other countries,” he said.

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator. 


The Blue Carbon Summit was organized by AIPI, CIFOR, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF). 

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Observatory addresses urgent need to monitor forests in East Africa

Observatory addresses urgent need to monitor forests in East Africa

A tropical forest landscape in Uganda. Photo by D Sheil/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

A tropical forest landscape in Uganda. Photo by D Sheil/CIFOR

East Africa is home to some of the world’s most diverse forests: montane forests, which include some of the highest and oldest mountains in Africa; coastal forests; Miombo woodlands; tropical rain forests; and mangrove forests.

Like many forested areas around the globe, they are increasingly threatened by agricultural expansion and deforestation for fuelwood and timber purposes.

Although regional authorities, governments, NGOs and international organizations are working hard to protect these forests, without an accurate dataset, there is no effective way to monitor the ecological, environmental and social aspects of these forests.

Today, there are a number of observatories in East Africa monitoring forest activities. However, they lack precise country and regional level data that will help determine future strategies for protecting forests, reporting on countries’ obligations under the Paris Agreement, and evaluating the success of their initiatives under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) schemes.

Read also: Trait-based approaches for guiding the restoration of degraded agricultural landscapes in East Africa

ALL ABOUT THE DATA

Experts from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) are now working with the Regional Center for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD) and the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development (CIRAD), including researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), to lay the groundwork for a new regional observatory in East Africa.

Throughout the year, scientists will be conducting a comprehensive study to gather forestry data and assess the status of forests, REDD+ activities, institutional systems and monitoring capabilities across four East African countries – Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

In February, a meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya, with government representatives from the four countries to get the ball rolling. This new project will draw upon the experience of Observatoire des forêts d’Afrique Centrale (OFAC), a similar observatory now operating in Central Africa.

CIFOR scientist Paulo Cerutti, who helped establish OFAC, says the biggest advantage of having an observatory is that the information can be verified by the government.

“The data collected is more reliable because it focuses on a smaller scale, rather than on a global scale.”

Experts like Cerutti point out that global datasets, which are meant to compare larger regions, are not always effective when it comes to smaller regions because they can contain disparities.

People work in a field in Kenya. Photo by Tim Cronin/CIFOR

ON THE SAME PAGE

Before the new observatory can become fully operational, all four countries need to have the same capacity and expertise level to effectively contribute to the platform. Currently, the countries have different levels of technical skills, scientific equipment and data collection methods. Even the terms used to describe the types of forests can vary across borders.

The availability of data is another key issue for experts to overcome. For example, in Uganda, information on taxes and revenues from non-timber forest products is not available because they are not formally traded. Meanwhile, in Mozambique, remote sensing data on forests is only available at the national level. In Tanzania, there is a lack of remote sensing data for forest monitoring.

The new observatory would offer the region a more compatible, streamlined data system that would unite the four countries. It would also provide a new avenue for regional collaboration.

“The observatory will provide strong opportunities for synergies between the different focal points in each country and strengthen national capacity to monitor the forests,” says Alfred Gichu, head of the Climate Change Response Program at the Kenya Forest Service.

Countries in the region would be able to access a platform for sharing, exchanging and accessing data and information related to regional forests and REDD+. It would also provide a unified system for reporting on each country’s obligations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Stakeholders agree that regional cooperation gives everyone an opportunity to share their experiences and challenges and to build a stronger platform for the entire region.

“The observatory will help bring East Africa together as a collective working group to give it a voice in high-level discussions,” says Joaquim Macuácua from Mozambique’s Department of Inventory of Forest Resources.

Experts point out that the current lack of coordination is resulting in different agencies producing the same data.

“The observatory will help avoid this duplication of efforts across the region, and even within individual countries,” says Mugisa Micheal, the executive director of Uganda’s National Forestry Authority.

Read also: Forest tenure reform implementation in Uganda: Current challenges and future opportunities

NEXT STEPS

The project will be carried out through March 2018. Upon its completion, a database and website for the regional forestry observatory will be developed. This data will be made available to the public through the observatory.

Additionally, a thorough analysis of the state of forests and REDD+ activities across the four countries will be completed.

If these above objectives are successfully met, a five-year project will then be initiated to bring the observatory to life as part of the project’s second phase.

By Esther Mwangi and Laura Vanessa Mukhwana, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on this topic, please contact Esther Mwangi at [email protected] or Laura Vanessa Mukhwana at [email protected].


This initiative is supported through the ReCaREDD project, which is led by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Governing mangroves: From Tanzania to Indonesia

Governing mangroves: From Tanzania to Indonesia

The sun sets behind mangrove trees on Osi Island, Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The sun sets behind mangrove trees on Osi Island, Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR

Mangroves constitute only 0.5 percent of forest area worldwide, but millions of people depend on them for food, income and protection of coastlines against erosion.

Since 1980, about one-fifth of the world’s mangroves have disappeared. Although human pressures are a major threat, little is known about the governance conditions that facilitate long-term conservation and restoration of these coastal forests — questions that will become all the more relevant as countries develop frameworks for action on climate change.

“Research to date has typically focused on the biophysical dimensions of mangroves, since a lack of knowledge in this area was considered a major obstacle to managing them,” explains Nining Liswanti, as Indonesia Coordinator of the Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reform (GCS-Tenure), adding that mangrove governance remains relatively unexplored territory.

To fill this critical gap, scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), coordinated by Principal Scientist Esther Mwangi, set out to explore tenure and governance arrangements of mangroves through a global review.

They have so far conducted case studies in the Rufiji delta of Tanzania, which has one of the two most extensive mangrove areas in East Africa, and in Lampung province in Indonesia, the country with the largest mangrove forest cover in the world, accounting for up to 22 percent of the world’s mangroves.

At these sites, scientists analyzed national-level legal and policy frameworks, coordination across government agencies, and institutional arrangements at the local level — looking at “how decisions are made and the ability to implement them, both in terms of resources and capacity,” says the Coordinator of the Tanzania study, Baruani Mshale.

Watch: Protecting North Sumatran mangroves, supporting biodiversity, people and the world

INVOLVING COMMUNITIES

In Tanzania, the main dangers to mangroves are clearing for paddy rice farming and salt evaporation pans, unregulated harvesting for charcoal and timber, and growing competition between various foreign and local land-users.

Mangrove trees grow in Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR

“Mangrove forests in Indonesia continue to face enormous threats from economic activities like aquaculture and timber logging,” and half of them were destroyed between 1970 and 2001, the study notes.

Over the past 20 years, the Government of Indonesia has made interventions to curb mangrove deforestation, while in Tanzania, all mangrove forests are owned by the state and managed under strict protection, with restricted use by local communities. Yet threats to mangrove systems remain unabated. So what can be done?

“Expanding and strengthening the tenure rights of local communities to mangroves should be a central component of their sustainable management and conservation,” concludes the Tanzania case study. The key, the researchers find, is to strike a balance between forest use and conservation, and to involve communities in mangrove management by devolving rights to tenure.

This participatory approach is backed by evidence in terrestrial forests around the world, Mshale says. “When rights are granted to locals, they can derive livelihood benefits from natural resources, so they become active conservation agents and forests can be sustainably managed.”

Devolving rights over mangrove tenure and management comes with further benefits: it incentivizes communities to take ownership of mangrove conservation, and it reduces the distrust between locals and state conservation agencies — institutions historically tasked with keeping locals from settling in forests and using their resources.

Community-based approaches are also cost-effective.

“Strict protection approaches have generally failed for managing natural resources that people rely on for their livelihoods,” says Mshale. As populations grow and the pressure on resources increases, restricting access and use becomes more expensive and ineffective, he notes.

In Liswanti’s words, “it is impossible for authorities to enforce the rehabilitation of mangroves without the participation of communities.”

Read more: Protecting Tanzania’s mangroves

PRIORITIES FOR ACTION

Community-based management of mangrove forests is progressively gaining momentum. In Tanzania, the government has recently introduced regulated use in the Rufiji delta through various pilots, and Lampung province in Indonesia has seen community rehabilitation initiatives emerge in the past 10 to 20 years.

For sustainable management to flourish, however, a number of steps in policy, practice and research need to be taken. According to the analyses, a first priority is “better coordinating national and sub-national laws and policies,” as well as strengthening collaboration between the forestry, fisheries and agriculture sectors.

Tanzania has no specific policy tailored to the unique needs of mangrove systems, and in Indonesia, “no single national authority and policy on mangrove forest management operates in practice,” though mangrove-specific regulations at the local level fill up the void in some ways.

Birds perch among mangroves in North Sumatra, Indonesia. SWAMP Project
Photo by Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR

In Lampung, for instance, community leaders play a central role in mobilizing local action and liasing with external actors for mangrove protection, but “these links need to be regularized to sustain local effort over the longer term,” the study finds.

While emphasizing this need for mangrove-specific frameworks, the researchers found that at the local level, mangrove-specific regulations temper or substitute the array of national regulations.

Ensuring adequate financial and technical capacity for management by both the government and local communities is also key, as is expanding possibilities for income generation by locals, including access to markets for regulated mangrove products.

Women are particularly engaged in mangrove use, but they are often left out of decision-making and benefit-sharing. “Sociocultural and religious norms prevent women from participating in discussions that take place in public spaces,” says Mshale. Beyond legal and institutional provisions, alternative participatory processes should be considered to ensure that women’s voices are heard.

DRIVING CHANGE

Other priorities are supporting participatory management across all tenure arrangements, addressing political influence at the national and local levels, and embracing a landscape approach that takes into account all activities affecting mangroves, including farming, herding and the activities of foreign land-based investors.

Indonesian villages outside of state forest zones, for example, have been engaged in mangrove rehabilitation since 1995 to control erosion. However, they do not have regular access to government resources. “I admire their patience,” says Liswanti, “but it will be hard for communities to keep it up indefinitely without financial support.”

In Tanzania, politicians encourage mangrove clearance for paddy rice farming to gain support during election times. “Politicians are key to changing people’s behavior, so we must find ways to work with them in favor of management strategies that achieve both environmental and livelihood outcomes,” stresses Mshale.

CIFOR’s case studies have been presented to stakeholders in both Tanzania and Indonesia, spurring dialogue between authorities, communities, non-governmental organizations, academics and donors.

Additionally, scientists are looking into mangrove governance in Kenya (2017) and Vietnam (2018).

Further research into governance and tenure aspects is crucial, says Mshale, but the initial path has been blazed. “Each actor has its share of responsibility, so maintaining this dialogue is a vital first step to bringing about positive change.”

By Gloria Pallares, originally published at CIFOR’s Forest News

For more information on this topic, please contact Esther Mwangi at [email protected] or Baruani Mshale at [email protected] or Nining Liswanti at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

This research was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

  • Home
  • Governing mangroves: From Tanzania to Indonesia

Governing mangroves: From Tanzania to Indonesia

The sun sets behind mangrove trees on Osi Island, Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The sun sets behind mangrove trees on Osi Island, Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR

Mangroves constitute only 0.5 percent of forest area worldwide, but millions of people depend on them for food, income and protection of coastlines against erosion.

Since 1980, about one-fifth of the world’s mangroves have disappeared. Although human pressures are a major threat, little is known about the governance conditions that facilitate long-term conservation and restoration of these coastal forests — questions that will become all the more relevant as countries develop frameworks for action on climate change.

“Research to date has typically focused on the biophysical dimensions of mangroves, since a lack of knowledge in this area was considered a major obstacle to managing them,” explains Nining Liswanti, as Indonesia Coordinator of the Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reform (GCS-Tenure), adding that mangrove governance remains relatively unexplored territory.

To fill this critical gap, scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), coordinated by Principal Scientist Esther Mwangi, set out to explore tenure and governance arrangements of mangroves through a global review.

They have so far conducted case studies in the Rufiji delta of Tanzania, which has one of the two most extensive mangrove areas in East Africa, and in Lampung province in Indonesia, the country with the largest mangrove forest cover in the world, accounting for up to 22 percent of the world’s mangroves.

At these sites, scientists analyzed national-level legal and policy frameworks, coordination across government agencies, and institutional arrangements at the local level — looking at “how decisions are made and the ability to implement them, both in terms of resources and capacity,” says the Coordinator of the Tanzania study, Baruani Mshale.

Watch: Protecting North Sumatran mangroves, supporting biodiversity, people and the world

INVOLVING COMMUNITIES

In Tanzania, the main dangers to mangroves are clearing for paddy rice farming and salt evaporation pans, unregulated harvesting for charcoal and timber, and growing competition between various foreign and local land-users.

Mangrove trees grow in Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR

“Mangrove forests in Indonesia continue to face enormous threats from economic activities like aquaculture and timber logging,” and half of them were destroyed between 1970 and 2001, the study notes.

Over the past 20 years, the Government of Indonesia has made interventions to curb mangrove deforestation, while in Tanzania, all mangrove forests are owned by the state and managed under strict protection, with restricted use by local communities. Yet threats to mangrove systems remain unabated. So what can be done?

“Expanding and strengthening the tenure rights of local communities to mangroves should be a central component of their sustainable management and conservation,” concludes the Tanzania case study. The key, the researchers find, is to strike a balance between forest use and conservation, and to involve communities in mangrove management by devolving rights to tenure.

This participatory approach is backed by evidence in terrestrial forests around the world, Mshale says. “When rights are granted to locals, they can derive livelihood benefits from natural resources, so they become active conservation agents and forests can be sustainably managed.”

Devolving rights over mangrove tenure and management comes with further benefits: it incentivizes communities to take ownership of mangrove conservation, and it reduces the distrust between locals and state conservation agencies — institutions historically tasked with keeping locals from settling in forests and using their resources.

Community-based approaches are also cost-effective.

“Strict protection approaches have generally failed for managing natural resources that people rely on for their livelihoods,” says Mshale. As populations grow and the pressure on resources increases, restricting access and use becomes more expensive and ineffective, he notes.

In Liswanti’s words, “it is impossible for authorities to enforce the rehabilitation of mangroves without the participation of communities.”

Read more: Protecting Tanzania’s mangroves

PRIORITIES FOR ACTION

Community-based management of mangrove forests is progressively gaining momentum. In Tanzania, the government has recently introduced regulated use in the Rufiji delta through various pilots, and Lampung province in Indonesia has seen community rehabilitation initiatives emerge in the past 10 to 20 years.

For sustainable management to flourish, however, a number of steps in policy, practice and research need to be taken. According to the analyses, a first priority is “better coordinating national and sub-national laws and policies,” as well as strengthening collaboration between the forestry, fisheries and agriculture sectors.

Tanzania has no specific policy tailored to the unique needs of mangrove systems, and in Indonesia, “no single national authority and policy on mangrove forest management operates in practice,” though mangrove-specific regulations at the local level fill up the void in some ways.

Birds perch among mangroves in North Sumatra, Indonesia. SWAMP Project
Photo by Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR

In Lampung, for instance, community leaders play a central role in mobilizing local action and liasing with external actors for mangrove protection, but “these links need to be regularized to sustain local effort over the longer term,” the study finds.

While emphasizing this need for mangrove-specific frameworks, the researchers found that at the local level, mangrove-specific regulations temper or substitute the array of national regulations.

Ensuring adequate financial and technical capacity for management by both the government and local communities is also key, as is expanding possibilities for income generation by locals, including access to markets for regulated mangrove products.

Women are particularly engaged in mangrove use, but they are often left out of decision-making and benefit-sharing. “Sociocultural and religious norms prevent women from participating in discussions that take place in public spaces,” says Mshale. Beyond legal and institutional provisions, alternative participatory processes should be considered to ensure that women’s voices are heard.

DRIVING CHANGE

Other priorities are supporting participatory management across all tenure arrangements, addressing political influence at the national and local levels, and embracing a landscape approach that takes into account all activities affecting mangroves, including farming, herding and the activities of foreign land-based investors.

Indonesian villages outside of state forest zones, for example, have been engaged in mangrove rehabilitation since 1995 to control erosion. However, they do not have regular access to government resources. “I admire their patience,” says Liswanti, “but it will be hard for communities to keep it up indefinitely without financial support.”

In Tanzania, politicians encourage mangrove clearance for paddy rice farming to gain support during election times. “Politicians are key to changing people’s behavior, so we must find ways to work with them in favor of management strategies that achieve both environmental and livelihood outcomes,” stresses Mshale.

CIFOR’s case studies have been presented to stakeholders in both Tanzania and Indonesia, spurring dialogue between authorities, communities, non-governmental organizations, academics and donors.

Additionally, scientists are looking into mangrove governance in Kenya (2017) and Vietnam (2018).

Further research into governance and tenure aspects is crucial, says Mshale, but the initial path has been blazed. “Each actor has its share of responsibility, so maintaining this dialogue is a vital first step to bringing about positive change.”

By Gloria Pallares, originally published at CIFOR’s Forest News

For more information on this topic, please contact Esther Mwangi at [email protected] or Baruani Mshale at [email protected] or Nining Liswanti at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

This research was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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  • Coastal blue carbon from planted mangroves holds promise

Coastal blue carbon from planted mangroves holds promise

Posted by

FTA

Photo: Vien Ngoc Nam/CIFOR
An international team of scientists have unearthed surprising results from the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve. Vien Ngoc Nam / CIFOR.

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

Mangrove forests might account for only 0.5 percent of coastal areas worldwide, but they punch well above their weight when it comes to mitigating climate change. A recent study in Vietnam found this is true even for artificially restored mangroves.

The study assessed carbon storage in restored mangrove sites. It was a collaborative work between Nong Lam University (Vien Ngoc Nam) as host, the Center for International Forestry Research or CIFOR (Daniel Murdiyarso, Joko Purbopuspito, and Sigit Sasmito), and US Forest Service (Richard MacKenzie).

“Vietnam was a natural choice for the study: it’s home to the largest mangrove areas in the Mekong Delta, and many of its mangroves have been replanted after being heavily degraded during the Vietnam War,” said Sigit Sasmito, a researcher at CIFOR.

The study was conducted on a total of nine plots in the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve (CGMBR) and Kien Vang Protection Forest (KVPF).

The researchers compared vegetation structure, biodiversity and carbon storage in two types of restoration sites: planted mangroves in the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve and naturally regenerated ones in the Kien Vang Protection Forest.

Located near Ho Chi Minh City, Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve contains 31,000 hectares of planted mangrove. During the Vietnam War (1964–1970), the reserve was sprayed with toxic chemicals, which destroyed or severely damaged 57 percent of its mangrove forests.

In 1978, the Vietnamese government launched a reforestation program in the area. At least 20,000 hectares of mangrove forests in the area were planted with 35 mangrove species between 1978 and 1998.

Kien Vang Protection Forest, located in Ca Mau province, spans 11,274 hectares, of which 8,404 hectares have been designated as a mangrove protection area. It also experienced massive degradation throughout the war. Its forests regenerated naturally, without any human intervention.

EQUAL POTENTIAL

“Our findings imply that different restoration approaches, either artificial or natural regeneration, do not affect the capacity of mangroves to sequester carbon,” said Sasmito.

The study found that planted mangroves in the Can Gio reserve had 889 ±111 tons of carbon per hectare, very close to the naturally regenerated forests of KVPF, which had a total of 844 ±58 tons of carbon per hectare.

“The findings surprised us because we hypothesized that different mangrove restoration approaches would result in different carbon sequestration capacities,” said Sasmito.

Future projections in the study came to a similar conclusion: after 35 years, planted and naturally regenerated mangrove forests will have similar levels of carbon.

Sasmito points out that this research supports the current push to restore mangroves worldwide, by giving evidence that mangrove restoration can enhance climate change mitigation through carbon storage .

A recent CIFOR study found that Indonesia’s 2.9 million hectares of mangroves store some 3.14 billion tonnes of carbon – a huge emissions reduction, if mangrove forests are preserved.

“Our research supports previous finding that mangrove ecosystems store significant amount of carbon – up to 5 times more than tropical forests,” said Sasmito.

“This is significant for global climate change mitigation strategies,” he added.

“Mangroves with two more other coastal wetland ecosystems, namely sea grass and salt marsh, are referred to as ‘blue carbon’,” explained Sasmito.

In terms of biodiversity, the study found that the replanted mangrove plots had considerably higher mangrove species diversity, with 15 true mangrove species compared to only 12 species in the naturally regenerated areas.

“This is because artificially regenerated mangrove site is given more frequent new species introduction compare to naturally regenerated site, which species introduction is part of mangrove management and monitoring intervention,” Sasmito explained.

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
This research was supported by USAID.

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