About the project

Mangrove and seagrass carbon project

Mangrove and seagrass conservation project

The New Ireland Mangrove and Seagrass Biodiversity Conservation, Livelihoods and Blue Carbon Project aims to develop an investment ready proposal for blue carbon offsets for the international market that can channel revenue back to the mangrove and seagrass communities to boost their efforts in biodiversity conservation, natural resource management and development of sustainable livelihoods through a payments for ecosystem services scheme.

This project supports the sustainable development plans of the New Ireland Provincial Government (NIPG) with benefits for marine resources and fisheries management and sustainable use in mangroves and seagrass coastal ecosystems and communities.

What are payments for ecosystem services

Payments for ecosystem services (PES) are mechanisms that provides financial incentives to individuals or communities who manage natural resources in a sustainable way. The payments are made to encourage them to maintain or enhance the ecosystem services that these resources provide, such as water quality, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and landscape beauty.

PES programs can take different forms, but generally involve a buyer paying a provider for a specific ecosystem service. For example, a water company may pay upstream landowners to maintain healthy forests that filter water and reduce soil erosion, thus ensuring a reliable supply of clean water downstream. Other examples of PES programs include payments for reforestation, conservation of wetlands, and preservation of habitats for endangered species.

PES programs can benefit both the environment and local communities. By incentivizing sustainable management practices, they can help protect natural resources and promote biodiversity conservation. Additionally, PES programs can provide economic opportunities for local communities and support their livelihoods.

New Ireland

The New Ireland project area covers mangrove and seagrass ecosystems and communities from the Tabar group of islands (Simberi, Tatau, and big Tabar); east and west coast Sentral New Ireland; Djaul islands; east and west Tigak mainland and islands; Southwest Lavongai and Northeast Lavongai; and Mussau and Emirau islands.

Maps of the location and carbon intensity of mangroves in New Ireland from Global Mangrove Watch.

Blue Carbon Accelerator Fund

The Blue Carbon Accelerator Fund (BCAF) was established by Australia and IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, as a dedicated funding scheme to support blue carbon restoration and conservation projects in developing countries and help pave the way for private sector finance.

The BCAF contributes to addressing barriers to scaling-up and financing blue carbon restoration by supporting the development and implementation of quality blue carbon projects including funding early-stage activities, facilitating capacity building through technical collaboration, assisting with brokerage for future financing, and monitoring and valuing both carbon and non-carbon outcomes.

The funds of the BCAF are allocated to projects via separate thematic calls for proposals and funding guidelines. Currently, the BCAF provides funds for:

  1. Readiness Support that will help project developers with activities to get coastal blue carbon restoration projects ready for implementation and future private sector finance – growing the global portfolio of credible and investment-ready blue carbon projects.
  2. Implementation Support for on-the-ground blue carbon ecosystem restoration or conservation projects that will demonstrate and measure climate, biodiversity and livelihood benefits – enhancing the business case for private sector investment in blue carbon ecosystems.

What is 'blue carbon'?

Blue carbon refers to the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems such as mangroves and seagrasses. These ecosystems can draw down and store atmospheric carbon dioxide in their biomass and in the sediments below them.

It is called "blue" carbon as it's found in the ocean, and it can help mitigate climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in coastal ecosystems.

Blue carbon ecosystems also provide other important ecosystem services, such as coastal protection, fish habitat, and water filtration. However, these ecosystems are often threatened by human activities such as coastal development, pollution, and overfishing, which can reduce their ability to store carbon and provide these important services.