Restoring mangroves in communal and private land supported by government management schemes

Published: 04 July 2019
Last edited: 01 June 2021
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The Alvarado Lagoon System area in Veracruz is the second largest mangrove zone in the Gulf of Mexico, providing various benefits such as water provision, disaster risk reduction, and habitat for species. The solution focuses on improving the quality of the mangrove ecosystem to strengthen its resilience to climate change and anthropogenic impacts. The use of two government schemes - private conservation areas & communal environmental management areas - for the protection and sustainable use of mangroves has been fundamental to enhance the restoration of a considerable area of wetlands (25 ha); activities have included reforestation, channel maintenance and restoration of water flows. Local communities and project participants received financial incentives for participating in awareness, restoration and management activities; they also received training and strengthened their technical capabilities on restoration, conservation and management of mangrove ecosystems.


North America
Scale of implementation
Freshwater ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Pool, lake, pond
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Ecosystem services
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Species management
Land and Forest degradation
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Sustainable development goals
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Sendai Framework
Target 3: Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP by 2030


Golfo de México, Veracruz, México


  • Hurricanes and storms affect local communities and spread river pollution related to agricultural activities as well as the sugar and oil industries that are located upstream, causing water pollution and the decrease of fish production
  • Occational droughts affect the water cycle
  • Agricultural activities (e.g. cattle ranching and sugarcane plantations) lead to the degradation of ecosystems; wetlands are dryed up by farmers
  • The maintenance of long term funding is a great challenge if all the activities related to the rehabilitation, vigilance and monitoring of the mangroves ecosystem are meant to continue in the medium-long term
  • Investment in staff, infrastructure and technical equipment is key but limited


  • Local communities (e.g. women groups) and landowners benefit from mangrove management and are employed when more restoration work is needed in the area
  • Local farmers (e.g. livestock herders) 

How do the building blocks interact?

The first building block "Evidence-based mangrove restoration and reforestation" and second building block "Using government schems for sustainable management of private and community land" work together. Building block 1 focuses on recovering the ecosystem and its basic functions, while building block 2 provides institutional support and available land to strengthen the institutional and technical aspects of restoration of the local mangrove ecosystem. The third and fourth building blocks link restoration work with some examples of sustainable management and diversification of livelihoods.


  • Inner lagoon mangrove ecosystems have experienced an unprecedented rehabilitation
  • 25 hectares of wetlands have been restored
  • 3 kilometers of canals have been manually cleared and restored
  • 484 land owners participated in the management scheme, Private Conservation Areas (APC) covering an area of 20,564 hectares

  • Several communities and "ejidos" (local administrative unit), and private owners have obtained a management plan for their areas under governmental schemes of sustainable management and protection
  • Awareness of local stakeholders on the impacts of climate change and the importance of conserving and sustainably managing wetland ecosystems was significantly strenthened
  • The communities have received technical training on mangrove reforestation related to the "chinampas" (floating vegetation bed) technique and have strengthend their technical capacities and know-how
  • Community members were engaged in the design of adaptation measures in an effort to enhance ownership. The project closed in 2016 and adaptation measures are being sustained by local communities
  • Increased income sources for local communities via employment on ecosystem restoration.
  • Livestock farmers are supported to reduce their environmental impact on the water cycle by improved green-grey infrastructure.


The Alvarado Lagoon System area in Veracruz is the second largest mangrove zone in the Gulf of Mexico. It is also an important economic area covering an oil extraction zone, sugar and livestock production; these activities pose serious impacts in terms of water and soil contamination that affect the health of people and wetlands. The solution focused on improving the quality of the mangrove ecosystems to strengthen its resilience to these anthropogenic impacts, including the drying up of wetlands by farmers in these areas.

Making use of two government schemes related to sustainable natural resources management, the project sought to include a greater number of actors, and their lands, within a sustainable managemen strategy. The first scheme, Private Conservation Areas (APC),  created by the state government of Veracruz has integrated 484 owners, covering an area of ​​20,564 hectares, under management schemes. The solution worked with one of these APC called "El Pájaro" to carry out mangrove reforestation actions using an innovative "chinampas" technique through the formation of chinampas (floating vegetation beds) to support the seedlings and increase the chances of their establishment. The long term work of local NGOs in this area provided a source of technical knowledge and experience about the topography and hydrography (microflow) of the wetlands of the area, as well as in the proper way to restore wetlands with different levels of degradation. This considerably influenced the success of the reforestation and other management activities with the communities near the APC. Taking advantage of the availability of economic resources from the project, people from the surrounding communities took part in training on the use of the chinampas technique, as well as in the reforestation and manual clearing of 3 km of canals.


Under the second scheme, the Environmental Management Units (UMA) scheme, the elaboration of a mangrove management plan was implemented for the communal lands of the El Tarachi ejido (local administrative unit).

Contributed by

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Aram Rodriguez de los Santos National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC)

Other contributors

Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático
Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático (INECC)