Mangrove forests provide a multitude of ecosystem services. Among many other benefits, they are a cradle for a diverse array of life, support the livelihoods of local communities, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Because of the public good, non-market nature of many ecosystem services, mangroves are undervalued and subject to deforestation around the world, including Baja California. This report uses the Bahia Magdalena Lagoon Complex (BMLC) as a case study and reviews several conservation policies that may be used to conserve mangrove forests. A key challenge is the need to create mechanisms that allow landowners and local communities to benefit from mangrove conservation and management programs. Therefore, it reviews several policies used in Mexico that take this approach, including Payments for Ecosystems Services (PES) programs and Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs). It concludes that coexistence of payment programs (i.e. PES, carbon emission trading credits, philanthropy) and an ICDP in a proper sequence, while reinforcing intrinsic value-based attitudes, could facilitate meeting conservation management goals. Cross-border cooperation between the United States and Mexico is also essential for conservation because of the interconnected nature of ecosystems that do not follow political borders.
Author: Briana Hernández