Blue Carbon Financing of Mangrove Conservation in the Abidjan Convention Region: A Feasibility Study

tide cycles: lunar calendar quantity and quality of water, etc.) is well developed. The knowledge on mangrove wetlands (species, habitats, environmental characteristics) that local people havemastered are essential to adapting to this extreme tidal ecosystem. As the ethnic heterogeneity of mangrove- dwelling people in West, Central and Southern Africa is immense, regimes of customary mangrove management and tenure are as widely diverse as the people. Customary tenure is particularly developed among mangrove-dependant people and along mangrove areas that have been populated and managed for a long time. Mangroves, as socio-ecosystems or socio-natures, are under the authority of the local communities, who control them according to the local institutions. Mangrove areas can be continuous and contiguous spaces, more or less closed and limited, or in patches. The mangroves are valued for multiple purposes (cultural, religious, aesthetic, salt, forestry, agricultural, pastoral, etc.) and are collectively or individually owned. A complicating factor in tenure is the varied forms of ownership, as the land the mangrove is growing on can be owned by one family, the mangrove trees to another, while access to the NTFP may be vested in yet another group. In some cases, traditional authority is in charge of the distribution of the benefits from the area through decision- making and conflict resolution, while in other cases it is the family or the clan who undertake this role. It may seem that due to the difficulties in accessing mangroves, ‘modern’ public institutions are absent. On the contrary, it is their multiplication with competitive authorities of jurisdiction, from local to international levels, each of them with their own designs for the environment and development, that leads to conflicting policies and overlapping bureaucracies, weak law enforcement and, globally, that contributes to poor governance of mangroves (Tsikata et al., 1997; Rubin et al, 1998; Cormier-Salem, 1999). Beyond the varied forms of customary tenure, and building upon TEK, there are traditional practices that could assist in the long-term, sustainable governance of mangroves by adjacent communities, including: • the appropriation of habitat (sandbank, mudflat, canal, rock, grove) • the exclusive use of certain resources (e.g. shellfish and molluscs, honey, sedentary resources, easier to obtain than the migrant pelagic species) • the protection of habitats and species in regulations on fishing seasons (e.g. oyster collection is forbidden between June and October [the rainy season], in the period before rice cultivation, and also during the oyster’s reproductive period) • the control of fishing gear and type of fishing practice (e.g. limitation of the size and the mesh of nets; ban on poisoning or the positioning of fish traps)

contribute to the protection, management and conservation of mangroves. Places in mangroves are very often believed to be haunted, sacred or submitted to prohibitions, including mudflats, islands, small channels, tannes and sand shell middens. These places are often associated with spirits and sheltering totemic species (such as manatees, tortoises and birds), due to their use as tumulus or ancestors’ graves. They can also result from introduced elements, such as around baobabs for example, where a ndout (a Serer initiation ceremony) takes place in the Delta of Saloum in Senegal. Rim-Rukeh et al. (2013) reports that in Ode Itsekiri in Warri South Local Government Area, Nigeria, there is an evil forest within the mangrove swamp forest into which “dead bad people” are thrown. They state that “the dead bad people may include those that have confessed to the act of witchcraft (male and female inclusive), death by suicide, dead by cancerous wound, dead resulting from falling from a tree or palm tree, and a pregnant dead woman. In addition, when a person dies as a result of mysterious sickness and did not confess to any act of evil doing, the oracles are consulted to inquire into the cause of this death. If the deceased was not a “good citizen” often the corpse is thrown into this forest. This is done to prevent the reincarnation of such spirit”.

The role of taboos, beliefs and practices (including the belief in the presence of spirits and supernatural creatures) all


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