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Project Highlight: Blue Carbon - Vida Manglar

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Location: Colombian Caribbean

Current Carbon Savings: 2015-2018; 69,027 tonnes CO2e

30-Year Goal: 1 million tonnes CO2e

Project Overview

The Vida Manglar is a mangrove sustainable management project that aims to capture 1 million tonnes of CO2e in 30 years.

In addition to capturing carbon, this project:

  • Increases biodiversity

  • Creates local, sustainable job opportunities

  • Deters illegal harvesting of natural resources

  • Deters poaching

  • Provides environmental education and management training

  • Buttresses natural barriers which protect against storm damage and land erosion

This project will soon be featured in a CNN Special Edition and is the forerunner and template for expanding mangrove management and carbon credit projects in Colombia and internationally.

This is just one of the many exceptional projects that Net-Hero high-quality, high-impact carbon credits support around the globe.

Location & Geography

Located in the Colombian Caribbean, this coastal marine wetlands project is 8,570 hectares/85.7 square kilometres in size.

Management of the project is shared across eight organisations, from national government to international entities, each contributing their area of expertise and skill to the overall project.

This area was designated as a Regional District of Integrated Management (DRMI) in 2006 and by the CVS, the Regional Autonomous Corporation of the Sinú and San Jorge Valleys.

Conservation International organises and coordinates the structure of the partnerships as well as monitoring methodology, compliance, verification and certification. To read more about the project partners, go to the end of this article.

Carbon Capture Impact

Mangroves are a barrier between the sea and solid land, and this type of plant holds unique properties for carbon capture.

Mangroves are classified as blue carbon systems. These are ocean and coastal ecosystems like mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows. These blue carbon ecosystems capture up to 10x more carbon than the same-sized forest or tropical savannah and at a much faster rate. For example, planting a tree will take 20 years for the carbon offsetting to balance out and begin making a positive carbon capture output.

In blue carbon, most of this carbon capture is stored underground in the soil and can be stored for thousands of years.

Mangleros, the local people dedicated to preserving the mangrove forests, perform “bioengineering” maintenance, which ensures estuaries and canals are regularly cleared of debris, thus allowing the sweet water to penetrate deep into the mangrove forest and avoid salinization. This accelerates the natural process, which is common in coastal mangrove forests.

Between 2015-2018 the Vida Manglar project captured 69,000 tonnes of CO2e. Significantly more and faster than could have been captured in a forest of similar size.

Community Support & Impact

With the governance of Conservation International and the project partners, the local communities are taught how to sustainably grow, harvest and preserve the mangroves in a manner that allows for substantial carbon sequestration whilst providing a source of local revenue and job opportunities.

Mangrove wood is a highly sought-after product due to its durability and natural water resistance. Previously, this wood was harvested and rapidly depleted without an environmental plan for replenishment. When harvested without a proper management or replenishment plan, the mangrove root soil is disturbed. This releases large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, previously stored for thousands of years.

With financial investment in the form of high-quality carbon credits, Conservation International and its partners provide education and the means for the local communities to gain consistent income streams whilst capturing carbon and providing other benefits that have knock-on emissions and sustainability impacts.

Young mangrove plants are cultivated and on land, then transported and protected as small “islands” whilst establishing strong root systems. These islands can then grow for carbon capture now, and the wood can be sustainably harvested in the future, but in a manner that does not disturb the root structure and holds the sequestered carbon in place.

Biodiversity Nurseries

These mangrove islands are a form of biodiversity nurseries, creating a habitat structure that supports thousands of species when they are young; creatures from lobsters, crabs, crustaceans, jellyfish, fish, and amphibians, as well as the needlenose crocodile, Caribbean manatees and neotropical otter.

Additionally, former poachers are now employed as conservationists, helping to ensure the incubation, hatching and reintroduction of the cayman species of crocodile.

The increased habitat helps to support thriving fish populations which are a direct source of local, high-quality protein and nutrition.

Sustainable Commerce

Mangrove wood has become a sustainable raw material product for production and sale.

Additionally, meliponiculture has increased, and with it, honey production. As well as providing an additional source of natural caloric energy, it is now a viable commercial product for sale.

Ecotourism is yet another new revenue source contributing to the local economy. Boat and river tours, as well as birding, have helped to support the local communities.

Not only do these revenue opportunities provide financial support, but they also provide a sense of pride and ownership of the environment and a greater sense of stability and well-being.

Other Outcomes

The increased, sustainable revenue opportunities deter illegal and criminal activities such as the over-harvesting of natural resources, the poaching of animals and drug trafficking.

Not only do these revenue opportunities provide financial support, but they also provide a sense of pride and ownership of the environment and a greater sense of stability and well-being.

Research supports that when these other areas of finance and stability are increased, other areas, such as substance abuse and violence, decrease. Often, these

enhance the opportunities and lives of women and girls.

Community Impact

To date, 12,000 people have been positively impacted by the Vida Manglar project.

14 Groups of Mangleros have been created, thus helping to support 435 local families.

Physical Benefits

Sustainable mangrove systems form a protective barrier from storm and hurricane damage and reduce coastal erosion. Coastline protection is critical to limiting the displacement and the human health and death impacts brought about by natural disasters.

Sustainable Development Goals

Specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals outcome goals that are increased due to the Vida Manglar project:

Credit Verification & Certification

INVENVAR scientists collect samples and measure the carbon accumulated in the mangroves, sediments and deadwood. This organisation is training the local community on how to carry out these carbon measurements, allowing for localised education, awareness and ability to thrive.

Vida Manglar operates under the REDD System:

  • Reducing

  • Emissions from

  • Deforestation and

  • Forest Degradation

These blue carbon credits are Verra Verified, and this project is currently the region’s only premiere blue carbon project.

The Net-Hero carbon credits for this project are AAA rated by BeZero Carbon, providing the assurance of high-quality, high-impact carbon offsetting.

Net-Hero In-Person

Most carbon credit organisations never get a chance to visit the beneficiary projects where the financial investments are delivered. Net-Hero is a bit different. We aim to visit a set number of projects per year, personally. Not only does this help us build real connections on the ground, but it also helps sustain our passion and resolve to invest in high-quality carbon credits, thereby ensuring maximum effectiveness for our organisation, our carbon investor clients and, equally as important, the communities and individuals who, without support, will bear the worst of the global warming consequences.

More About the Partners: Vida Mangar Project

Conservation International (CI)

A non-profit environmental organisation with more than 30 years of work in favour of environmental protection through science, policies and alliances with countries, communities and companies. It has about 1,000 experts and works with more than 2,000 partners in 30 countries.

In the area of marine ecosystems, the technical team works at different scales: national, international and local, supporting the development of legal and legal mechanisms that allow carrying out marine management processes, supporting the development of public policies, applied research in ecosystems. and prioritised species, development of local capacity, building programs, training and exchange of experiences with other countries, development of innovative financial sustainability strategies, and conservation agreements, among others.

In the Vida Manglar Project, CI coordinates the group of entities and manages the registration account of the Carbon certificates.

The Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible

A government entity in charge of defining the National Environmental policy and promoting the recovery, conservation, protection, ordering, management, use and exploitation of renewable natural resources to ensure sustainable development and guarantee the right of all citizens to enjoy and inherit a healthy environment.

The Corporación Autónoma Regional de los Valles del Sinú y del San Jorge (CVS)

Working for the conservation, protection and administration of natural resources and the environment, for the sustainable development of the department of Córdoba, through environmental management and community participation.

The Corporación Autónoma Regional de Sucre (CARSUCRE)

The highest environmental authority in the department of Sucre. It promotes the recovery, conservation, protection, ordering, management, use and exploitation of renewable natural resources and the environment, executing environmental policies, plans, programs and projects with the participation of social, economic and institutional actors, thus contributing to the sustainable development of the region and improving the quality of its inhabitants.

The second phase of the Vida Manglar project will add the mangrove and lagoon ecosystems of the Ciénaga La Caimanera DMI and the PNR of the Boca de Guacayamas mangrove system, the jurisdiction of CARSUCRE as priority areas in the Gulf of Morrosquillo.

The Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras “José Benito Vives de Andreis” - INVEMAR

An institute with extensive experience in basic and applied research of renewable natural resources and the environment in coastal and marine and ocean ecosystems, such research is carried out in order to provide the scientific knowledge necessary for the formulation of policies, decision-making and the preparation of plans and projects that lead to their proper development, and that are aimed at the sustainable management of resources, the recovery of the environment marine and coastal areas of Colombia, through the rational use of the Institute's scientific capacity and its articulation with other public and private entities.

With about 55 years of experience, INVEMAR has worked mainly in the monitoring of coastal areas and marine ecosystems with the identification of the status of coral, mangrove and seagrass ecosystems.

In the Vida Manglar Project, INVEMAR is in charge of scientific research related to the carbon component in the ecosystem and other specific needs that are generated in the process.

The Fundación Omacha

A non-governmental, environmental, non-profit organisation that focuses on studying, researching and conserving fauna and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in Colombia by creating strategies in favour of conservation, and ensuring the proper use of the aquatic and terrestrial resources available to the communities that live in the areas where the foundation is present.

In the Vida Manglar Project, the Fundación Omacha leads the local governance processes, as well as the research associated with the species prioritised in the project.

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