The Blue Forests Project includes two project sites in Kenya, the first is Mikoko Pamoja located in Gazi Bay and the second is Vanga Blue Forest, located in nearby Vanga Bay on the border with Tanzania. Both are community-based mangrove carbon finance projects certified through the Plan Vivo standard, and Mikoko Pamoja is the world’s first successful coastal 'blue carbon’ project, selling carbon credits with payments supporting mangrove conservation and restoration activities.
Each project site has followed a number of steps in order to be certified for the sale of carbon credits. The Project Design stage includes developing a project concept, choosing or developing a baseline and monitoring methodology, and stakeholder consultations. All of these elements are documented in the project design document (PDD).
Carbon assessment methodology for both project sites conforms to Plan Vivo Standard (PV) and Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) of the Voluntary Carbon Market.
The restoration methodology used at both sites conforms with PV standards as well as Verra’s Wetlands Restoration and Conservation (WRC), which is a framework for accounting emissions reductions in blue carbon ecosystems.
Blue Forests Ecosystems
Blue Forests Economy
Healthy mangroves also support other economic ventures at the project sites. For example, in Gazi Bay, the Gazi Women Mangrove Boardwalk is an ecotourism initiative managed by 27 Gazi women. The boardwalk extends to a loop of 300 meters, weaving through mangrove trees and offering excellent birdwatching opportunities. With approximately 1673 annual visitors, the $2 entry fee goes toward boardwalk repairs, buying school textbooks for children, and paying teachers at nearby schools. The boardwalk also serves as a hub for the sale of local products, supporting additional community incomes.
Blue Forests Policy
Local community participation and support are key factors in the success of Mikoko Pamoja and the establishment of Vanga Bay Blue forests. Community associations are a required part of Plan Vivo projects and help to ensure sustainable project results and equitable benefit sharing. The project sites have established two community association, the: Mikoko Pamoja Community Organization (MPCO) and the Community Forest Association (CFA) of Vanga Jimbo and Kiwegu VAJIKI.
A number of policies and measures have to be followed for the Kenyan government to authorize the sale of mangrove carbon credit. Clause 45 of Forest Act (2005) of the Laws of Kenya provides guidelines for community participation in the management of national forests. The Law allows Communities adjacent to these forests to register a community forest association (CFA) that can jointly manage a designated forest area with Kenya Forests Service (KFS) using an approved Participatory Forest Management Plan (PFMP).
The KFS approved the PFMP for Gazi and signed a Forest Management Agreement with the CFA that has allowed the community trade in mangrove carbon. Given the success of Mikoko Pamoja in demonstrating sustainable mangrove management, the project further seeks to influence national and international policy on integrating mangroves and associated ecosystems in national development and climate change agenda. We will continue working closely with KFS and other government agencies in engaging communities in sustainable utilization of mangrove resources; and in promoting nature-based enterprises in mangrove areas.
Blue Forests Communities
A number of measures have been taken to limit potential negative socio-ecological consequences for communities from the sale of carbon credits at both sites. Carbon offsetting via the sale of Plan Vivo Certificates (PVCs), each which represent the long-term sequestration or mitigation of one tonne of CO2e and a multitude of additional benefits, including:
Fairly traded carbon - Plan Vivo guarantees fair benefit sharing between participants and project coordinators, with at least 60% of the money from every PVC bought going directly to the participants;
Community-based management – the planning of activities and profit sharing is agreed upon by a community association and based on local needs and capabilities;
Independent certification and continued oversight. Four community associations have been set up in the Gazi, Vanga, Jimbo and Kiwegu villages.
Education and capacity building at both project sites has focused on engagement with local communities. This includes workshops and presentation on climate change, carbon offsetting, coastal ecosystems and their benefits, and restoration and monitoring.