Coastal mangrove

On Mexico’s Baja, California peninsula, short scrubby mangroves grow in the coastal desert.

These stunted trees may not look like much. They’re smaller than mangroves in lush tropical environments. But underground, these mangrove ecosystems trap hundreds of years’ worth of partly decomposed roots. Those deposits – also called peat – store as much or more carbon as their tropical cousins.

Nájera: “They are one of the most important defenses against climate change.”

Eduardo Nájera is with Wildcoast, a nonprofit working on coastal conservation. He says when mangroves are cut down, most of that stored carbon gets released back to the atmosphere.

Nájera: “It’s a source of carbon emissions if we deforest them.”

So Wildcoast’s goal is to protect up to 40 thousand acres of mangroves in Northwest Mexico. So far, the group has secured conservation permits for about eight thousand acres of land.

To help finance the plan, Wildcoast hopes to sell carbon credits to companies around the world that are paying to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

Nájera says protecting these carbon-rich ecosystems is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to keep carbon out of the atmosphere.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo credit: troy mckaskle / Flickr