Keys to successful blue carbon projects: Lessons learned from global case studies

Source: ScienceDirect

  • Coastal wetlands store a lot of “blue carbon,” mostly in soils.
  • Coastal wetland restoration is becoming an important climate mitigation option.
  • Successful projects involve local stakeholders & consider alternative livelihoods.
  • Funding has come from voluntary carbon markets or other non-carbon finance.
  • Only one case study included soil carbon in their carbon credits (India).
Ecosystem services such as protection from storms and erosion, tourism benefits, and climate adaptation and mitigation have been increasingly recognized as important considerations for environmental policymaking. Recent research has shown that coastal ecosystems such as seagrasses, salt marshes, and mangroves provide climate mitigation services because they are particularly effective at sequestering and storing carbon dioxide, referred to as “coastal blue carbon”. Unfortunately, degradation of blue carbon ecosystems due to anthropogenic impacts contributes to anthropogenic carbon emissions from land use impacts and prevents these ecosystems from continuing to sequester and store carbon. Given the impressive carbon sequestration and storage in coastal ecosystems, many countries with blue carbon resources are beginning to implement blue carbon restoration projects using carbon financing mechanisms. This study analyzed four case studies of projects in Kenya, India, Vietnam, and Madagascar, evaluating the individual carbon financing mechanisms, the project outcomes, and the policy implications of each. Strengths and challenges of implementing blue carbon projects are discussed and considerations that all projects should address are examined in order to develop long-term sustainable climate mitigation or adaptation policies. This analysis can help to inform future project design considerations as well as policy opportunities.