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Zambezi Mangrove Carbon Project

Large mangrove pneumatophores within the Zambezi River Delta, Mozambique.
Large mangrove pneumatophores within the Zambezi River Delta, Mozambique.

The Zambezi River Delta mangrove extends for 180 km along the coast and approximately 50 km inland, accounting for almost 50 percent of the mangrove area in Mozambique and forming the second largest continuous mangrove habitat in Africa. The stature and importance of the Zambezi River Delta mangrove to the Mozambican people make it an area of interest for conservation and marketing of carbon sequestration potential and other ecosystem services. The US AID-sponsored Zambezi River Delta Mangrove Carbon Project was a collaborative effort between WWF-Mozambique, the Mozambique Direcção Nacional de Terras e Florestas (DNTF), Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), WWF-Deutschland and the USFS that quantified the mangrove carbon stock in the Zambezi River Delta in support of Mozambique's REDD+ National Program. It also aimed to enhance in-country capacity to continue this type of forest assessment. During the course of the three-year effort, those objectives were addressed through training sessions, seminars, and two major field sampling campaigns.

This project was the first operational-scale comprehensive mangrove forest inventory in East Africa and addressed research goals within the USFS R&D Climate Change Priority Area. A stratified random sampling design, based on existing remote-sensing data, was used as the basis for quantifying carbon stocks. This approach resulted in very precise estimates, with uncertainties falling well-within international guidelines, thus demonstrating the importance of well-designed assessments. The work documented that Zambezi River Delta mangroves contain, on average, 472 Mg C ha-1, with approximately 45-74 percent of that stock contained in the soils. The investigators also determined that the mangrove area within the Zambezi Delta has increased by approximately 4,000 ha over the last 20 years. All of the data collected during the project was provided to DNTF to be included in the national forest inventory currently underway. The findings from this project also provide the foundation for a new Blue Forest project that is being implemented by WWF-Mozambique with funding by the Global Environmental Facility.

CONTACTS: Carl Trettin and Christina Stringer