CSF collaborated with NatureServe and Pronatura Veracruz on a project for the Inter-American Development Bank to create a replicable model for mangrove ecosystem management. This model built on engagement of local communities using ecological condition assessment, economic valuation, and development of alternative livelihoods. The project focused on the Alvarado Lagoon System in Veracruz, Mexico, a RAMSAR-recognized wetland of global importance. CSF’s primary role in this project was leading the economics, with a focus on helping communities perceive and develop solutions to the market challenges they face in transitioning to sustainability.
The experience was synthesized into a toolbox for organizations and stakeholders throughout Latin America and the Caribbean seeking to increase the sustainability of mangrove management.
Photo credit: Cesar Raziel Lucio Palacio, Pronatura Veracruz
Photo description: Staff from CSF, NatureServe, and Pronatura Veracruz visiting the mangroves owned by La Mojarra Community.
Mangrove forests provide a variety of ecosystem services, upon which many communities rely. Mangroves support a variety of biodiversity, including threatened species; fish stocks for both subsistence and commercial production; timber and medicinal plants. Mangroves also help to prevent erosion from wind and waves and have great potential to sequester and store carbon.
Previous conservation approaches have not been able to effectively value the full suite of provisioning, regulating, and cultural ecosystem services that mangroves provide. Furthermore, they have not sufficiently acknowledged the role of local stakeholders that have an investment or interest in mangrove ecosystem natural capital and ecological condition, evident through the persistent decline in mangrove extent and health globally and a poor success rate of restoration initiatives to date.