iCOAST is a research project on the potential for mangroves to contribute to climate compatible development in the coastal zone, funded by the Climate & Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and carried out by Napier University (lead), LTS International, Birmingham University, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) and Ruhuna University, Sri Lanka. The project is seeking to better understand how mangrove ecosystems could support climate compatible development (CCD) through applying the right policy and regulatory framework.
Coastal degradation is undermining development for approximately 40% of the world’s population that live within 100 km of the coastal zone. Mangroves provide important ecosystem services by providing feeding and nursery areas for fish and marine species, by filtering water and reducing sedimentation, and for nutrient recycling. They are also important for subsistence and commercial fisheries, aquaculture, and the provision of timber and firewood. Mangroves further provide important coastal protection against storm events and they play a vital role as carbon sinks. In fact, mangrove forests contribute up to 10% of total global deforestation emissions, despite covering just 0.7% of tropical forest area. Hence, the protection and sustainable use of this ecosystem is vital.
Carbon markets, social carbon, biodiversity premiums and other payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes have created new opportunities for achieving climate compatible development – that is approaches that are capable of generating benefits under climate change adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development. However, there remains scant evidence of the fiscal and regulatory mechanisms required to deliver the incentives and governance conditions necessary for leveraging coastal zone CCD through these emerging PES markets.
The challenge is how to modify and develop these carbon market instruments and PES schemes to encourage coastal mitigation strategies, as well as to explore new mechanisms (such as payments for soil carbon and biodiversity credits) that are suited to coastal ecosystems. It is recognised that communities not only need to manage these resources for sustainability, but that by safeguarding the regulating and supporting services of this ecosystem, they can achieve climate compatible development and contribute to the mitigation of and adapt to the effects of climate change.
This research project will analyse the socio-economic, political and environmental context in which CCD is likely to be successful in Kenya and Sri Lanka. The project will develop cost-curves for applying CCD to the coastal zone using newly tested benefit transfer methodologies. It will map the value of the mangrove areas and coastal landscapes to assess the potential for the application of REDD+ and other mechanism, and it will highlight priority areas for short, medium and long-term national strategies.
By 2014, we hope to:
- Have identified the possible mechanisms to modify and develop policy and regulatory instruments to allow for management of the deep sediment carbon.
- Have identified the best policy and regulatory mechanisms to allow for CCD including mitigation and adaption.
- Have tested the application of cost curves and benefits transfers methods.
For more information or if you wish to receive regular updates on the project, please contact Dr. Ingvild Harkes, iCOAST project coordinator at Edinburgh Napier University.