Coastal mangrove restoration is practiced as a community-based climate change adaptation initiative in Bangladesh.
The Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change through Coastal Afforestation (CBACC-CF) program is the first Bangladesh National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) project under the GEF-UNDP portfolio, implemented by the Government of Bangladesh in four coastal districts. The initiative primarily consists of reforesting the coastline with various species of mangroves, interspersed with timber and fruit trees, following the ‘Forest, Fish, Fruit’ (FFF) model, which also integrates fish nursery ponds between the trees in the area. This was done with the involvement and employment of community members in the nursery bed preparation, seedling raising, planting and maintenance. 6,372 hectares of new mangrove plantations made up of 10 key mangrove species were established to reduce the impact of cyclones, flooding, coastal erosion, saline intrusion and sea-level rise, while the project also supported innovative land management and livelihood diversification strategies for local stakeholders. Furthermore, mound and dyke plantations were also reclaimed for innovative use of unused coastal lands to accommodate non-mangrove species in salinity-dominated coastal belts by involving local communities.
A reported estimated 637,200 tons of carbon are absorbed annually by the 6,372 hectares afforested with a diversity of mangrove species, as well as some timber and fruit trees.
The initiative is reported to have a significantly positive climate adaptation outcome, as the mangroves act as a 'green shield' that protects the local coastal communities from the impacts of cyclones, including storm surges, flooding, and wind, as well as other climate impacts such as flooding from sea level rise, salt water intrusion into crops and drinking water, and coastal erosion.
The mangrove afforestation program reportedly enhanced the resilience of coastal ecosystems, as they were found to effectively shield existing natural mangroves from storm impacts. The created habitat was also reported to support coastal marine biodiversity, including fish and birds, according to project reports.
In addition to the 3,400 coastal households which remain involved as long-term beneficiaries of the mangrove strip plantations in the four communities, the initiative also reportedly provided income opportunities for 12,371 local people in activities such as tree planting and maintenance, seedling raising and nursery bed preparation. Using the 'Forest, Fish, Fruit' model, the project also supported the planting of fruit trees and the establishment of fish nursery ponds, explicitly aiming to tackle food security in the communities, while reportedly providing $1,000 USD per year per beneficiary in additional income. Overall, the community-based adaptation project reportedly helped to empower local people through a participatory process.