Working from the middle : a multidirectional approach to mangrove conservation

Mangrove ecosystems are at continued risk of degradation and deforestation through anthropogenic activity. Mangroves once covered 75% of tropical coastlines, and only 30 - 50% of this habitat currently remains. These ecosystems provide important benefits for the local communities, including supporting livelihoods and providing resources. Through the long-term sequestration of carbon, mangroves are essential to global goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although mangrove conservation and restoration are often recognized community or government goals, the lack of data and resources can hamper success. By analyzing approaches used across pilot conservation and restoration sites in Madagascar and Ecuador, lessons learned can highlight successful approaches that can be replicated and scaled up. This research analyzes how the influence of top-down (government or policy driven) and bottom-up (community-led) approaches impacted project outcomes. This case study comparison uses interviews with key experts, along with the Driver. Pressure, State, Impact and Response framework, to better understand the role national and local entities play in mangrove conservation and restoration. The most effective approach considers the underlying drivers of mangrove loss and includes a multidirectional approach to align government goals and community needs.