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

Southern Africa was undertaken. This considers the potential payments from the international community for blue carbon, as well as the opportunity costs of conservation, i.e. the benefits of conversion to agriculture. The additional benefits that intact mangrove forests provide, such as supporting the region’s fisheries, were not included due to lack of data. Hence, this analysis should be considered conservative and indicative. However, even without including values for the numerous benefits of intact mangroves in addition to blue carbon storage and sequestration, the analysis suggests that conservation of mangroves in the region at current coverage is economically viable when factoring in opportunity costs of conversion as high as US$ 460 per hectare, with an average of US$ 221 per hectare. On the basis of the potential payments for blue carbon alone, most countries in West, Central and Southern Africa could achieve a net economic benefit from mangrove conservation. The countries with the largest area of mangroves could achieve the greatest benefits, with discounted values over a twenty-year period conservatively estimated at an 8 percent discount rate and carbon prices of $3 to 5 per ton (Table 12), of: $44.7 to 147.3 million in Nigeria, $19.3 to 36.0 million in Gabon, $6.9 to 37.4 million in Guinea-Bissau, $7.2 to 29.5 million Guinea, $6.0 to 18.7 million in Senegal and $3.2 to 14.2 million in Sierra Leone. Essentially, together with payments for other services provided, mangrove conservation in West, Central and Southern African nations could potentially be financially viable, if payments for blue carbon can be secured.

the largest areas ofmangrove forests, translating inmany cases into conversion of these ecosystems to urban settlements and infrastructure. While it is difficult to quantify mangrove loss due to data limitations (and even more so for seagrass and salt marshes), average estimates suggest some 25 percent loss between 1980 and 2006, and the first workshop on west, central and southern African mangroves held in Ghana in 2014, suggested a 2 to 7 percent average annual rate of loss. The best available data suggest that the region currently contains some 1.97 million hectares of mangroves which store 854millionmetric tons of carbon in above- and below-ground biomass and the top meter of soil, some 4.8 million hectares of seagrass storing 673 million metric tons of carbon and 1.2 million hectares of salt marshes storing 303millionmetric tons of carbon – or some 1.83 billion metric tons of blue carbon. Based on the best estimates of mangrove deforestation rates and resulting carbon emissions in the region, the discounted value of the emission reductions that would be gained over a twenty-year period if current coverage was conserved, is estimated to be between $456.9 and 761.7 million at a 5 percent discount rate and carbon prices of $3 per metric ton and $5 per metric ton respectively, and $341.2 million and $569.0 million at an 8 percent discount rate and the same prices for carbon (see Chapter Three). Building from the above values, a preliminary economic analysis of the net present value (NPV) of the carbon storage benefits from mangrove conservation in West, Central and


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