Healthy forests

04 December 2012 | Project description

Through the project, Mangrove Rehabilitation for Sustainably-Managed Healthy Forests (MARSH) Project, IUCN engages the PNG Government, academic institutions in PNG and other partners to build capacity and strengthen sustainable mangrove management at the local and national levels.

Mangrove Rehabilitation for Sustainably-Managed Healthy Forests (MARSH) Project

Mangroves are a highly valued resource in the region, yet are under heavy pressure from coastal development and potential impacts of climate change. The Pacific Mangroves Initiative (PMI) was established by IUCN, in partnership with SPREP, as the umbrella body for mangrove projects in the Pacific.

Under PMI, IUCN developed the Mangrove EcoSystems for Climate Change Adaptation and Livelihoods (MESCAL) project which is currently being implemented. They also recently launched the Mangrove Rehabilitation for Sustainably Managed Healthy Forests (MARSH) project which is currently being set up in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

MARSH is a 5-year project that forms part of the USAID strategy for development in the Pacific region, to support Pacific Island nations as they address the negative impacts of climate change. Through MARSH, USAID will support the development of a mangrove rehabilitation project in Papua New Guinea. The envisioned project will support USAID’s strategy for the Pacific by decreasing deforestation and forest degradation and increasing the resilience of communities to the negative effects of climate change. USAID anticipates that the best practices developed during years one through three will be expanded to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu from year four.

PNG’s mangrove forests are second only to Indonesia in terms of species diversity with 43 recorded species. It makes up 75% of the total area of mangroves in the Pacific Islands and PNG’s mangroves are critically important for local communities and coastal ecosystems. Extractive industries pose a threat to the health of mangroves in certain provinces due to high sedimentation and release of toxic materials. The protection and rehabilitation of mangrove ecosystems will safeguard the livelihoods of coastal communities in the country, improve their resilience to the impacts of climate change and act as a mitigation measure in sequestering carbon.

MARSH is intended to support the PNG Government in achieving the goals cited in the PNG Vision 2050. The project will engage a partnership approach with IUCN taking the lead in overall project management and coordination while partners WCS and TNC will implement particular components and activities. Other local partners that will also be engaged in implementation of project activities include University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), PNG Centre for Locally Managed Areas (PNGCLMA), PNG Assembly for Disabled Persons (PNGADP) and Partners with Melanesians (PWM).

Key geographic areas include:

  • Manus province
  • West New Britain province
  • New Ireland Province
  • Central province and
  • National Capital District


  1. Build the capacity of PNG Universities, National and sub-national institutions, in mangrove carbon monitoring, reporting and verification.
  2. Strengthen the organizational capacities of civil society to support sustainable development through community-based mangrove forest management.
  3. Strengthen community capacity on sustainable mangrove forest management.
  4. Strengthen the adaptive capacity of coastal communities through community-based mangrove forest management.
  5. Support community rehabilitation and sustainable management of mangrove forests
  6. Explore sustainable finance models and mechanisms that support long-term community based mangrove forest management, including; adaptation funding and REDD+/mangrove carbon finance.

5 Years starting October 1st 2012.

This project is funded by USAID.

The PMU comprises the following personnel:

  • Chief of Party
  • Deputy Chief of Party
  • REDD+ and sustainable forest management specialist
  • Mangrove and coastal zone management specialist
  • Community Liaison Specialist

Contact person for the project is the Chief of Party for MARSH, Dr. Eric Verheij.