Mangroves throughout the world are a critical ecosystem facing numerous threats. In Kenya, losses of mangroves in the last two decades have been estimated to be at 20%. Continued destruction could result in more than 70% of mangrove cover loss in the next 50 years thus affecting biodiversity and livelihoods of many coastal communities. Overexploitation and conversion pressure are the main causes of loss and degradation. Incentive based mechanisms such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) and Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) could significantly increase local community participation in mangrove conservation. Two important questions concerning the likely applicability of incentive based schemes to a given site are: what is the capacity of the local governance structures to manage these programs and what are the views of the local community regarding the state of the ecosystem? This study investigated the local governance structures that exist to support conservation and management of the mangrove ecosystem. Using Vanga mangrove ecosystem as a case study, the study further investigated attitudes and perceptions of local communities towards the status and condition of mangroves forests in their area. The data was collected through key informant interviews, focus group discussions, household surveys and participant observation. Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics, correlations, cross-tabulation, text analysis and data triangulation. The Forest Guard was recognized as the key decision maker in local mangrove governance by 78% of respondents while co-management by the Community Forest Association was only recognized by 32%. Poor monitoring strategies and lack of adequate community consultation were identified as major factors that led to continued destruction of the resource. More than half (62 %) of the respondents perceived the Vanga mangrove ecosystem as degraded to some extent; whereas 86% would be willing to participate in their conservation if incentives were provided. Local decision making on how to share benefits accrued was a significant motivation factor for participation in conservation as this allows for community priorities to be taken into consideration. It is highly likely that the attitude of the community towards the incentive based initiatives would be influenced by the perceived long-term benefits of conserving the mangrove ecosystem for carbon credits against the opportunity cost of short- term benefits of exploitation. Providing opportunities for community monitoring through creation of by-laws and local sanctions would promote better community support. Community training on incentive based schemes is necessary in order to provide a better understanding of the concept and thus foster long term community support in conservation.

Background to the study
From global to local scales, mangroves are critical coastal ecosystems of immense significance both ecologically and economically. These ecosystems provide important goods and services which include provisioning such as charcoal, fuel wood and timber (FAO, 2007; Crona and Ronnback, 2005), regulating such as protection from floods, storms and erosion of soil, supporting services such as breeding and nursery sites for fish and crustaceans, and cultural which include recreation, religious and aesthetic values of the resource (Brander et al., 2012; TEEB, 2010; UNEP, 2006; MEA, 2005). Mangroves also play an important role in carbon sequestration with their storage averaging 1023 Mg of carbon per hectare which is several times greater than the carbon density in terrestrial forest systems therefore having great implications for climate change mitigation (Donato et al., 2011).

Mangroves are however, threatened ecosystems (Valiela et al., 2001; Spalding et al., 2012), with threats ranging from overexploitation, conversion of mangrove areas to other land uses (FAO 2007; Valiela et al., 2001), pollution effects to climate change related factors (Adeel and Pomeroy, 2002; Alongi, 2002). The deteriorating status of mangroves has been extensively discussed in numerous studies and many possible solutions to address this issue suggested in various platforms (Giri et al., 2011; Giri et al, 2008; Gilman et al., 2008) but ironically, anthropogenic activities that accelerate mangrove degradation continue globally (Giri et al., 2011) . This is due to the fact that human- induced destruction is driven by self- centered short term benefits (Hardin, 1968) against the long term ecosystem benefits. The situation has led to continuous efforts to engage the community living around the resource in management for effectiveness of conservation strategies (Walters, 2004).

Incentive based management through schemes such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) provides a relatively new way of engaging communities in conservation and management of mangrove forest ecosystems. PES has been an effective venture in countries such as Costa Rica where there has been a well-developed PES scheme since 1997(Rosendal and Schei, 2014). Costa Rica was the first country to establish PES schemes and the progress and potential of the schemes there encouraged establishment of PES in countries like Ecuador (Cranford and Mourato, 2014; Wunder, 2005), Nicaragua (Pagiola et al., 2007), Vietnam (To et al., 2012) and Bolivia (Wunder, 2005). Successes of PES principles have helped pave way for introduction of Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) schemes which provides financial incentives for reduced carbon emissions through compensation of countries that are willing to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (UNFCCC, 2008). While the structure and modalities of REDD+ are still being debated (Larson, 2011), individual projects employing aspects of the scheme receive carbon offset payments from existing voluntary carbon markets such as the Kasigau Corridor Carbon project in Kenya. Whereas the contribution of mangroves to sequester carbon has been largely ignored in the past, their enormous potential creates the need to support the adjacent local communities in engaging in carbon offset projects and thus inclusion in REDD+ schemes (Locatelli et al., 2014). The success of such projects will largely be dependent on effective management and governance systems particularly at the local level. Perceptions and attitudes of the local community also have a bearing on their ability to manage the forest resource. Those who deem conservation of the ecosystem for posterity as more important than short term economic or socio-cultural acquiring of benefits are more likely to be involved in conservation oriented projects.

Mangroves in Kenya continue to be degraded through overharvesting of wood products, particularly firewood and building poles (Dahdouh-Guebas et al., 2000, Mohamed et al., 2009)), conversion of mangrove areas to other land uses including urban development, pond aquaculture (Kairo et al., 2001) and salt extraction (Abuodha and Kairo, 2001). Inadequate governance structures from national to grass-root level coupled with poor attitudes and perception of local communities toward mangrove conservation exacerbate the problem (Kirui et al., 2013).

Mangroves in the Kenya have been formally protected since 1932 under Proclamation No. 44 and thereafter in 1964 by Legal Notice No. 174. Currently they are protected under the Forest Act of 2005. The Forest Act empowers the communities to manage gazetted forests including mangroves. Part ΙV Section 45 (1) of the Act allows for the communities to participate in co- management of forests by registering a Community Forest Association (CFA) under the Societies Act. The CFA must provide a clear management plan and subsequently sign a management agreement with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) which is the government agency mandated by the Forest Act to protect all state forests. In mangrove areas, governance structures at the local level have also been inadequate to support co-management (Kirui et al., 2013) thus resulting in communities largely being excluded. Major challenges also stem from poor implementation and enforcement of the laws, inefficiency of surveillance and lack of economic incentives to local communities (Ongugo et al., 2007).

Statement of the problem
The potential of obtaining payments to local communities for mangrove carbon credits has been proven to be great. This is owing to the successful implementation of Mikoko Pamoja in Gazi Bay, Kenya. Despite this success, there is still limited understanding of local governance structures and community support for the establishment of a sustainable mangrove carbon offset project. This study sought to understand the local mangrove governance structures and community mental models of the mangrove resource through a case study in Vanga, Kenya, a site being considered for the upscaling of Mikoko Pamoja project.

Research Objectives
Broad objective
To support existing governance systems, national bodies and international protocols in promoting development of local incentive-based schemes that incorporate multiple mangrove ecosystem services.

Specific objectives
1. To characterize the major goods and services extracted from mangroves in Vanga area.

2. To characterize local governance systems, their roles and acceptance amongst the local community in the Vanga area.

3. To evaluate the local perceptions and attitudes on the state of the mangrove ecosystem in Vanga area.

4. To assess the potential for community involvement in incentive based management through a mangrove carbon offset project.
: Research questions

1. What are the mangrove goods and services that the Vanga community depend on?

2. What local governance systems exist in Vanga and what are their roles and level of acceptance in the community?

3. How does the local community perceive the state of mangroves in Vanga and what are their attitudes towards it?

4. Does the local community have the capacity to participate in conservation of Vanga mangrove ecosystem through an incentive-based mangrove carbon offset project?

The global importance of carbon sequestration by mangroves opens the possibility of payments from a global carbon market for this service under REDD+ policies (Locatelli et al., 2014). However, REDD+ discussions mainly focused on terrestrial forests, largely ignoring the contribution of mangroves to carbon storage. Kenya is already involved in REDD preparedness and submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in July 2015 indicating a target of 30% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 2030. The mitigation activities proposed to meet the target are afforestation and reforestation. Avoided deforestation could help meet the target through enhancing carbon storage. This is in line with Kenya’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 7 which promotes environmental sustainability and could be accomplished through mangrove conservation for carbon sequestration. The first successful attempt in the world to include mangroves in the carbon market was at Gazi Bay, Kenya where a small scale mangrove carbon feasibility project was launched in 2012 (“Mikoko Pamoja”: see The success of this project opens up the possibility of upscaling it to a larger mangrove area such as Vanga mangrove ecosystem which is an important fishing area and is the largest mangrove area in south coast Kenya.

However, a larger area presents more governance and social dynamic challenges. It is therefore important to understand the local mangrove governance and community perspectives and their implications on sustainability of a mangrove carbon offset project. Poor governance structures and negative attitudes and perceptions of the local community towards mangrove conservation has contributed to loss of mangroves in Kenya. Also, information on local governance of mangrove ecosystem in Kenya is scarce, with greater emphasis given to terrestrial forests. Incentive based mechanisms such REDD+ have also largely concentrated on terrestrial forest with little attention given to mangroves despite their important role in carbon sequestration.

Mangroves in Vanga are faced by continued destruction mainly through overharvesting. This contributes to loss of livelihood for the largely fishing community that is dependent on mangroves as fish habitat (Fulanda et al., 2009). The formation of the Community Forest Association (CFA) by Vanga community is an important milestone in co-management and also provides the local community with a direct economic stake in protection and sustainable use of the mangroves (Badola et al., 2012). Much as the recently enacted resource utilization legislation (GoK, 2005; GoK,2012) advocate for co- management of coastal resources, little is known on how these co-management structures function in mangrove areas of Kenya and how communities support them. The findings of this study will contribute to better understanding of local governance structures in mangrove areas, their interactions as well as their likely outcomes and how the local knowledge and perceptions may influence the success of incentive based mechanisms for conservation.

Scope and limitations
The study focused on villages within and adjacent to the mangroves of Vanga, Jimbo and Kiwegu herein referred to as ‘Vanga mangroves’. The key informants in the study were selected purposively in order to obtain in-depth data on mangrove governance systems and livelihood. The limitations of the study were:

· Household surveys captured the information from the household head as the representative of the household.

Definition of terms
In this study, the working definition for terms was as follows:

Governance: These are “ the rules of collective decision making in settings where there are plurality of actors or organizations and where no formal control system can dictate the terms of the relationship between these actors and organizations” (Chhotray and Stocker, 2009).

Payment for Ecosystem Services: This is an approach to conservation based on market systems in which local forest communities receive monetary or non-monetary compensation as an incentive to conserve their immediate ecosystem for its services (Milder et al., 2010) which could be purification of water, mitigation of floods, biodiversity conservation and sequestration of carbon (Jack et al, 2008).

Forest Governance: Involves ‘new modes of regulation in the forestry sector, such as decentralized, community based and market-oriented policy instruments and management approaches.’ (Arts et al., 2014).

Institutions: These are ‘humanly devised constraints that structure human interaction. They are made up of formal constraints (rules, laws, constitutions), informal constraints (norms of behavior, conventions and self-imposed codes of conduct), and their enforcement characteristics.’ (North, 1994).

Social-Ecological Systems: These are ‘complex adaptive systems where social and biophysical agents are interacting as multiple temporal and partial scales.’ (Janssen and Ostrom, 2006).

Conservation: The protection, preservation, restoration and rational use of all resources in the total environment.

Management: This involves the application social, administrative, legal and economic aspects to technical forestry principles and practices in order to achieve the desired objective.

Attitudes: This is the tendency of an individual to act in a particular manner based on their experiences, beliefs, values, motivations and habits with regards to a particular situation.

Perceptions: This involves the comprehension and understanding of a person’s surrounding and phenomena based on their own interpretations of meaning from the particular surrounding or phenomena.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 70 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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