Mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, saltwater marshes – these and other ‘blue forests’ are vital to coastal and island communities around the world
Mangroves in the Dominican Republic provide a range of ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration and storage, and protection from storms. Yet according to the FAO, mangroves in the country declined from 34,400 ha in 1980 to 21,215 ha in 1998.
A 2012-2014 blue carbon assessment in one of the country’s largest mangrove sites found carbon stocks to range from 706-1131 Mg/ha, among the largest of any tropical forest ecosystems. By comparison, carbon stocks in degraded and deforested mangroves were up to ten times less. The conversion of these forests to shrimp and salt ponds has led to very large carbon emissions.
Coastal blue carbon ecosystems have the potential to annually capture 0.5%-2% of the atmospheric carbon emitted globally.
Pathway: Understanding the value of ecosystems
Objectives of Counterpart International were to quantify the carbon sink capacity of mangroves through a comprehensive inventory and analysis of ecological conditions and carbon stocks that are intact, under threat or notably degraded. Quantify carbon sink capacity, which will contribute to generating emission allowances, emission credits and other types of CO2 compensation certificates. Build national and local institutional capacity to assess the CO2 sequester capacity of mangroves in order to transform the entire sector to a net carbon sink development path.
Pathway: Policy and management approaches
Understanding the value of their mangroves, public, private and community partners convened a series of workshops that identified opportunities to combine actions toward the national strategy on climate compatible development with mangrove conservation, restoration, and sustainable use practices. In 2015, the outcomes of these workshops prompted the Government of the Dominican Republic to register the first Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) for blue carbon with the UNFCCC.
The NAMA concept for the Dominican Republic sought to both integrate mangrove conservation, restoration, and sustainable use practices into existing international policy and financing processes and serve as a transformational tool in effective national natural carbon management. It aimed to build the capacity of public and private sector institutions to:
Quantify the carbon sink capacity
Develop an inventory of carbon credits
Facilitate national dialogue
Preserve and reforest mangroves
Develop strategies to support economic development
Manage finance mechanism for communities with mangroves (public-private partnership)
Develop Blue Carbon tool kit
Currently, support is being sought for the design and implementation of the NAMA through bilateral and multi-lateral funding partners.
Pathway: Community engagement
For technical support, Counterpart International will help the Dominican Republic by working with communities and scientists to conduct carbon stock assessments and compiling the national inventory report for the Climate Council (a national entity). It will also help to complete the NAMA’s request for support for implementation, including the framework for national level actions. Capacity-building support will be provided first at the national level to ensure that the government and other stakeholders are informed and participating in the NAMA. The rest will take place at the community and provincial levels to strengthen institutional capacities to manage NAMA preparation and implementation.
What are the key pathways
to reach these goals?
What are the goals of the Dominican
Republic Blue Forests Project?
Facts at a Glance
21,215 hectares of mangroves protected
706-1131 Mh/ha carbon stock
Counterpart International has worked on creating a NAMA in Montecristi National Park. Mangroves occupy about 21,215 ha of the Dominican Republic, with large contiguous areas in the Montecristi Province in the northwestern part of the country. The area studied was located within and surrounding the Montecristi National Park in Montecristi Province.
Paul Guggenheim encourages others to join a similar project
Project challenges in the Dominican Republic
The NAMA design requires close collaboration with the relevant government entity from the beginning and should build on existing relationships, trust.
The design must fit within existing policy framework and demonstrate support in terms of both institutional capacity and policies.
There is no standard approach from potential funders and investors.