25 September 2015 | A national training workshop in mangrove carbon accounting was conducted in Port Moresby from 21st-25th September 2015 by IUCN / USAID Mangrove Rehabilitation for Sustainably-Managed Healthy Forests (MARSH) project, the Office of Climate Change and Development (OCCD) and US Forest Service (USFS). The participants were trained on the Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Programme (SWAMP) protocol for measuring and monitoring forest carbon in mangroves.
The training officially opened by the Ambassador of the United States of America to PNG, Mr. Walter North, focused on building capacity and understanding on the significant role of mangroves in climate change mitigation, the concepts of forest carbon accounting, data collection in the field, and data analyses for calculating carbon. In His Excellency’s opening address, Ambassador North said, “Let every tree count. Our planet is in peril from climate change."
Forested wetlands hold some of the highest carbon densities among any tropical terrestrial ecosystems and mangroves, in particular, contain more than five times the amount of carbon compared to tropical upland forested ecosystems. In addition to carbon, these ecosystems provide significant ecosystem services, including shoreline protection from storm surges, provision of fish nurseries and timber and food production for the communities near them and the country overall. Hence, the importance of mangroves and other forested wetlands are increasingly being highlighted in climate change adaptation strategies. Still, these ecosystems remain threatened by conversion to aquaculture and agriculture, urban development, overexploitation, and other deforestation and degradation drivers. Quantifying the significant carbon value of these ecosystems provides additional justification for their protection, helps countries incorporate them in to their climate change mitigation strategies, and prepares these countries for carbon credit programs such as REDD+.
The training was a success, providing PNG and Fijian government personnel skills in calculating carbon storage and emission factors. For the PNG participants the activity will contribute to ongoing National Forest Inventory efforts in the country by training officials in a forest carbon accounting methodology for mangrove forests.
Milika Sobey, Water and Wetlands Programme Coordinator, IUCN Oceania Regional Office, stated that the PNG National Training Workshop on the SWAMP protocol is very timely as PNG is about to embark on its first ever national forest inventory. “The training has introduced them to a method of measuring and monitoring the carbon content of mangrove forests and assist in mangrove conservation which is what the USAID-funded MARSH project has been promoting for the last three years in Papua New Guinea,” she says.
The activities of the five (5) days training consisted of:
1. 2 days of classroom training to cover background on mangroves and climate change concepts, forest carbon accounting and management in mangroves, and the SWAMP protocol sampling design;
2. 2 days of field practicum and data collection in the mangrove swamps of Tubusereia, a district in PNG, to ensure understanding of the protocol, field measurements, and use of equipment; and
3. 1 day of classroom for discussion on post-collection handling of samples, analyses of soil and other carbon pools, and carbon calculations.
Bruno Kuroh, Adaptation and Vulnerability Officer from the Climate Change Unit a participant in the Mangroves Accounting training said that the carbon accounting training was appropriate and very important as they will be doing the work and it will help them a lot from a PNG Forest Authority perspective, as mangroves is a great part of their terrestrial work they do.
With this development Richard Mackenzie of USFS has great confidence in officers from the PNG OCCD, PNG FA, and the PNG NFA to easily carry out PNG’s national forest inventory.
Field practicum and data collection equipment provided by USAID for the training were given to PNG FA whose main objective of establishment is to promote the management and wise utilization of the forest resources of PNG as a renewable asset for the well- being of present and future generations.
The 28 participants from PNG and several participants from the Department of Forestry in Fiji were each awarded certificates on Friday 25 September 2015.
For more information please contact Dr. Milika Sobey @ [email protected]