Tech Overlook

Conserving mangroves, a lifeline for the world



On this humid, sunny April morning, Cispatá Bay is still, save for a few local fishermen waist deep in the sea casting their hand-woven nets. Here, Conservation International and Invemar Research Institute are collecting mangrove soil samples to be analyzed for carbon stored in sediment below the waterline, known as “blue carbon.” Together with the Omacha Foundation, the three organizations are designing a carbon financing model to incentivize conservation and restoration of mangroves in the region, working in partnership with the local government environment authority (CVS) and the local communities.

For Apple’s Earth Day 2018 Give Back campaign, Apple partnered with Conservation International to protect and restore the 27,000-acre mangrove forest in Cispatá Bay, which is expected to sequester 1 million metric tons of CO2 over its lifetime. At the Global Climate Action Summit last September in California, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson underscored the importance of this type of preservation. “These forests are critical because they’re one of nature’s most important tools in the battle against climate change,” she said. “Globally, we’ve lost half of the world’s mangrove forests since the 1940s — so it’s high time we start preserving and protecting them.”
Conservation International’s project is the first in the world to fully quantify blue carbon credits in both trees and soil, and will be a model for scaling carbon sequestration in global mangrove ecosystems and curbing emissions caused by deforestation in these areas.

“We are pioneering this new wetland model,” says María Claudia Díazgranados Cadelo, marine biologist and director of Marine and Community Incentive Programs at Conservation International. “We need to strengthen the way we measure carbon stocks in the soil component of the mangroves. Other methodologies only use above-ground biomass without taking much consideration of the soil, which for mangroves and other coastal ecosystems is the most important place where those ecosystems store carbon.”



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