Our first webinar will focus on Blue Carbon – the amount of carbon stored and sequestered in coastal habitats like mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass. Plan Vivo is proud of our long association with Mikoko Pamoja, a community-led mangrove conservation and restoration project based in southern Kenya, and the world's first blue carbon project. We are also delighted to welcome our recently-registered Blue Carbon projects Tahiry Honko and Vanga Blue Forest. As these projects exemplify, there is huge potential from Blue Carbon due to its effectiveness at storing carbon, up to five times more than terrestrial forests per hectare. There are also several challenges with Blue Carbon projects, including social, political, and economic. However, when these challenges are addressed well in the project design phase, it can lead to the creation of sustainable livelihoods and the preservation of important coastal habitats, alongside the carbon benefits.
Watch the Webinar recording!


The event programme included:
Welcome by Plan Vivo Foundation
Keith Bohannon, Chief Operating Officer

An introduction to Blue Carbon
Prof Mark Huxham, from Edinburgh Napier University

Establishing a Fair Carbon Platform
Mark Beeston, from Gallifrey Foundation

Presentation of the report Blue Carbon: Mind the Gap published in October 2020, and overview of the process of establishing the Fair Carbon platform


A panel discussion on The potential of mangroves as a climate change solution with:

Chair:  Prof Mark HuxhamProfessor at Edinburgh Napier University

Mark is a Professor of Teaching and Research in Environmental Biology at Edinburgh Napier University. He works on the ecology of coastal ecosystems, with expertise in mangroves, having spent many years striving to conserve and restore these remarkable forests. After researching how mangroves trap and store carbon, he helped establish the world’s first community-based mangrove conservation project to be funded by the sale of carbon credits. Mark is a founding director of the Association for Coastal Ecosystem Services (ACES) a charity that supports communities in Africa to conserve their coastal ecosystems for the benefits of people and nature. Additionally, has developed two projects community-led mangrove conservation and restoration project which are registered under the Plan Vivo StandardMikoko Pamoja and Vanga Blue Forest based in southern Kenya.


Beeston, Fair Carbon and Gallifrey Foundation

Mark is a freshwater and marine ecologist with experience from the Amazon to the Antarctic. Mark modelled carbon flow processes in mangrove systems for his research Masters at the University of Portsmouth, followed by fieldwork at the National University of Singapore. He is co-author of the Gallifrey Foundation’s Blue Carbon: Mind the Gap paper. Currently, he is collaborating with NGOs, project developers, research institutions and carbon standards to develop the Fair Carbon initiative. 


Robyn Shilland, Researcher at Edinburgh Napier University

Robyn is a research assistant at Edinburgh Napier University and works for the Association for Coastal Ecosystem Services (ACES) supporting blue carbon projects in East Africa. Her work in marketing and trading blue carbon credits on behalf of the Mikoko Pamoja and Vanga Blue Forest projects, as well as her research into the ethics of carbon trading and the potential for a future of ethical offsetting, have given her over 8 years of experience of the blue carbon market. Recently, Robyn’s research into the opportunities and challenges of seagrass carbon and other Payments for Ecosystem Services is leading ACES in developing a community-led seagrass conservation project alongside certified mangrove carbon projects. 


Leah Glass, from Blue Ventures, Project Coordinator of the Tahiry Honko project in Madagascar

Leah works for Blue Ventures as their Technical Advisor for mangroves and blue carbon. For the last 8 years, she has been based in Madagascar, working together with colleagues and grassroots community associations to develop some of the world's first blue carbon projects. Including the Tahiry Honko Plan Vivo project. As a practitioner, she has acquired a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges relating to locally-led blue carbon projects. Leah is passionate about ensuring that marine management makes sense for the people whose livelihoods depend on the ocean.


Dr Ryan Merrill, Executive Secretary and Co-Founder of the Global Mangrove Trust

Global Mangrove Trust (GMT) serves a community of pioneers working to democratise blue carbon sequestration. A Singaporean non-profit, GMT's primary activity involves building high-scaling funding solutions for community-based mangrove forestry. Ryan, the co-founder of GMT, is developing machine-learning based blue carbon financing tools and systems for maximizing their sustained community benefits. In his spare time, Ryan also teaches environmental and energy policy at the University of Southern California and serves as Chief Impact Officer at Handprint Tech, a green tech start-up embedding microdonations to sustainability projects within online markets.


Blanca Bernal, Program Officer at Winrock International and member of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of Plan Vivo

Blanca is a wetland biogeochemist experienced in carbon accounting and calculation of emission factors associated with land use and land-use change. She has investigated carbon sequestration in coastal and inland wetlands for climate change mitigation, nutrient cycling, and the implications of environmental change on the provision of wetland ecosystem services. Blanca has developed multiple user-friendly decision support tools to assist assessments of forest protection and restoration benefits, built capacity of diverse stakeholders on AFOLU and REDD+, and led blue carbon technical feasibility assessments, national GHG inventories, and forest reference levels.


Q&A with panellists and attendees on The Opportunities and Challenges of Blue Carbon