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Prioritizing mangrove conservation across Mexico to facilitate 2020 NDC ambition


There is a scale mismatch between mangrove conservation and carbon emission mitigation policies despite mangroves contributing disproportionally to global carbon sequestration. Using Mexico as a case study in the integration of these scales, we estimate mangrove carbon value and deforestation rates at the municipio (local government) scale and develop a prioritization model that indicates where to focus conservation efforts. By using previously published global models of carbon stocks, Mexico-specific carbon sequestration data, and calculating gross deforestation, we found that the current rate of deforestation will result in a social cost of 392.0 (± 7.4) million US$ over the next 25 years. The prioritization model identified 26 municipios of 175, where if all mangroves are conserved, 50% of this cost could be avoided. Bridging the gap between research and governmental action using local initiatives will be paramount for the effective management of mangrove carbon.

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Financial support was provided by the Helmsley Charitable Trust and Lucile Packard Foundation. MTC was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. JK received fellowship support from the Baum Foundation, and OAO is a Pew Marine Fellow. We thank both anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments that helped to improve our manuscript. Additionally, we thank both Marcia Moreno-Baez and Heidi Batchelor for their support in the GIS analysis and Lisa Levin and Mark Jacobsen for advice.

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Correspondence to Joy A. Kumagai.

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Kumagai, J.A., Costa, M.T., Ezcurra, E. et al. Prioritizing mangrove conservation across Mexico to facilitate 2020 NDC ambition. Ambio 49, 1992–2002 (2020).

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  • Blue carbon
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Conservation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Mangroves
  • Mexico