Project

Advancing Coastal Wetlands Conservation

Protecting people, nature, and climate

Secciones

Advancing Coastal Wetlands Conservation
Coastal wetlands—salt marshes, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests—host some of the richest biodiversity on the planet, acting as refuge for wildlife and nurseries for juvenile fish, including species important for local communities and livelihoods.

By stabilizing shorelines and serving as a buffer from storms, these habitats also help coastal communities adapt to a changing climate. Coastal wetlands, sometimes referred to as “blue carbon” ecosystems, also sequester and store large amounts of carbon in the soil, mitigating the effects of climate change. Yet coastal wetlands are among the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Over the past 50 years, development, pollution, and other threats have destroyed half of the world’s mangroves, and an estimated 7% of seagrass meadows are lost globally every year.

The advancing coastal wetlands conservation project builds on The Pew Charitable Trusts’ previous work to accelerate conservation and management of these ecosystems through countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs)—their formal emission-reduction and climate-adaptation commitments to the United Nations’ 2015 Paris Agreement—with a focus on the Latin America and Caribbean and Western Indian Ocean regions.

In January 2019, Pew launched the project to support the inclusion of comprehensive and measurable coastal wetlands protections in countries’ updated NDCs. Over the ensuing three years, in partnership with local organizations, research institutions, and governments in Belize, Costa Rica, and Seychelles, Pew worked to strengthen country-specific research, policy, and finance capacity for mangrove and seagrass conservation. As a result of efforts by Pew and its partners, all three countries included ambitious coastal wetlands protections in their 2020-21 NDCs.

In addition to continuing support for those first three countries, Pew is now working with local and regional partners in Honduras, Panama, Jamaica, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique, providing technical assistance and strengthening local capacity in research, policy, and finance ahead of 2025 NDC updates. Pew is also expanding seagrass mapping throughout the Western Indian Ocean to develop the first field-verified national seagrass map for Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar.

Through these efforts, Pew seeks to support nations in developing and implementing robust NDC targets to protect or restore their coastal wetlands.

Red mangroves
Red mangroves

'Blue Carbon': An Ally in Fighting Climate Change

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“Blue carbon” refers to carbon dioxide that the Earth’s coastal wetland ecosystems absorb from the atmosphere.

Turtle
Turtle
Video

Seychelles Successful Campaign to Protect its Seagrass

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Video

In Seychelles, seagrass is not only a nature-based solution to climate change – it’s a national treasure. This video highlights Seychelles’ successful campaign to protect its seagrass.

OUR WORK

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Coastal Wetlands Are a Critical Ecosystem for a Healthy Climate

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Nature-Based Solutions Can Play a Vital Role in Addressing Climate Change