Ecosystem Based Climate Change Adaptation Through Mangrove Conservation

Creative Commons: Daniel Eynes

In the last 40 years, Mexico has lost 9% of its mangrove forest cover due to deforestation from unsustainable coastal development, pollution, sedimentation and run-off. It is estimated that avoiding the deforestation and degradation of mangrove forests in Mexico (which only account for just 1.2% of Mexico’s total forest cover) could prevent the emission of at least 70.8 million tons of CO2. 

The 450,000 acres of mangroves that remain on the Baja California Peninsula and in the Gulf of California also provide essential habitat for resident and migratory birds, marine mammals and sea turtles. These desert mangroves are very effective at atmospheric carbon intake and sequester more carbon than most plant species on earth. They also provide protections against storm surges, which will be increasingly more important as eastern Pacific tropical hurricanes continue to intensify and become more frequent, as well as sea level rise.

For the past 17 years, WILDCOAST has partnered with Mexican Federal agencies to protect mangroves and other key marine areas. Their latest project seeks to protect a total of 71,374 acres of mangroves in the next four to five years in Northwest Mexico. Preliminary research indicates that if this area gets completely deforested or degraded, it would emit 26.7 million tons of CO2. Between now and 2030, the conservation of this area as an alternative to degradation or deforestation, would prevent emissions equivalent to half of Baja California Sur’s CO2 emissions from industrial and transportation activities in the same period (53 million tons of CO2).

LDF will support WILDCOAST'S efforts in Baja to expedite the approval of concessions for 35,796 acres of mangroves and enable WILDCOAST to pursue a carbon credit registration process for financing continued mangrove conservation and management in Mexico, a new mechanism that could be replicated around the world.

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