Mangrove carbon work begins in PNG

12 March 2014 | Article

A training course in mangrove carbon stock assessment has been held for the first time in Papua New Guinea, setting the grounds for the carbon work expected to be conducted in-country through the USAID-funded MARSH Project.

The training course is a component of the Mangrove Rehabilitation for Sustainably-Managed Healthy Forests (MARSH) Project currently focused in PNG and aims to build community resilience to climate change through capacity building, institutional strengthening, mangrove management and rehabilitation.

Activities for the MARSH Project are focused in 31 sites within five priority provinces: Manus, West New Britain, New Ireland, Central and the National Capital District.

The training was conducted from 29 January to 7 February 2014 at the University of Papua New Guinea’s (UPNG) Motupore Island Research Centre. The course was held to equip participants with the skills to measure the carbon stored within mangrove forests.

Measuring the carbon stored within mangrove forests is important as it will help us to assess the contribution of intact, sustainably managed mangroves to the overall sequestering of carbon in PNG. In the future this sequestered carbon might be a potential source of funding for the sustainable management of mangroves,” says Eric Verheij, Chief of Party for the MARSH Project.

The course commenced with an introduction to the overall process of carbon assessments, including equipment demonstrations. The fieldwork component followed and included measuring of above- and below-ground carbon, collection of water samples and analysis of samples.

Verheij added that this is the first time that mangrove carbon assessments are conducted in PNG and therefore the data collected during the training and the future assessments through MARSH can be regarded as mangrove carbon baseline data.

18 participants received certificates of completion at the end of the 10 day course and are now eligible to conduct the same carbon assessment in MARSH’s project sites.

In addition, carbon stock assessment equipment donated by the US Forest Service was presented to UPNG by the US Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Walter North.

The course trainers were Dr Joko Purbopuspito (Center for International Forestry Research), Freddie Alei (UPNG) and Peter Katapa (MARSH Project Management Unit). Participants came from the six MARSH implementing partners (Wildlife Conservation Society PNG, The Nature Conservancy, Partners with Melanesians, UPNG, Assembly of Disable People and Center of Locally Managed Areas) as well as the Office of Climate Change and Development, PNG University of Technology, PNG Forest Authority–Forest Research Institute, the Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) programme, the National Agriculture Research Institute, and other local organizations.

The MARSH Project is part of the Pacific Mangroves Initiative, a joint initiative between IUCN Oceania and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.