The Tahiry Honko project: Community-led mangrove management to protect coastal ecosystems and livelihoods in the Bay of Assassins, Southwest Madagascar. PATHFINDER AWARD 2021 WINNER

Louise Gardner-Blue Ventures
Published: 12 August 2021
Last edited: 23 November 2021
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The project, co-managed by Blue Ventures and the Velondriake Association in the Velondriake MPA, aims to establish  a sustainable, long-term mangrove payment for ecosystem services scheme which will reduce deforestation and degradation and restore mangroves in the Bay of Assassins (southwest Madagascar), avoiding emissions of over 1,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Carbon credits generated by conserving and restoring mangrove ecosystems will make an important contribution to poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation in the area by establishing a secure revenue flow offering communities the opportunity, where feasible, to construct schools, dig wells, provide community health services and other related services that will directly benefit community members of all ages. 

The Velondriake Association is progressively increasing their presence in the field in order to monitor the implementation of this project with relevant communities, playing a key outreach role.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Access and benefit sharing
Cities and infrastructure
Coastal and marine spatial management
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Ecosystem services
Erosion prevention
Fisheries and aquaculture
Food security
Forest Management
Gender mainstreaming
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Health and human wellbeing
Indigenous people
Infrastructure maintenance
Land management
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Science and research
Standards/ certification
Sustainable financing
Sustainable livelihoods
Traditional knowledge
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Sustainable urban infrastructure and services
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ocean warming and acidification
Sea level rise
Tropical cyclones / Typhoons
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of infrastructure
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Sendai Framework
Target 4: Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with associations
Indirect through government


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  • Fluctuation of the international carbon credit market presents a challenge for generating stable revenue from carbon credits;

  • Takes time to develop as this requires extensive community consultations (for Tahiry Honko about 6 years)

  • A number of policy-related challenges:

    • Madagascar’s government still does not have a clear policy on carbon credit benefit sharing at the initial stage of the project development. Currently policy states that 22% of carbon revenue goes to the government, 5% is held as a risk buffer, resulting in less benefits for the communities managing and protecting these resources.

    • Carbon credit sale agreement  is to be carried out between the buyer and the government, not the communities themselves, resulting in a long administration process that could potentially take many months or even years to distribute funds to the communities.


Coastal community and mangrove dependent community.

How do the building blocks interact?

The full engagement of communities in the management of natural resources (BB1-4) enhances social integration of the resource managers, and co-operation between local communities and other stakeholders. This can solve many of the sustainability problems posed by external and hierarchical management. When the community has a better understanding of the natural resource health and impacts of anthropogenic activities, they can establish effective natural resource management and implement management strategies for sustainable use of resources. Promotion of the voluntary work for mangrove reforestation (BB5), along with education in why this is important at the start-up stage, and the carbon revenue from the sale of the carbon credits can be used for the long term project activities (carbon monitoring, replanting, law enforcement). BB1-5 are in themselves building blocks for a carbon project (BB6). This last building block both helps to fund the management that is integral to the LMMA and in the first place incentivizes this management.


The impact to date has happened on different fronts: 

  • Social development: have helped develop local infrastructure, developed alternative livelihoods, such as beekeeping within mangrove forests, which has provided additional income to the local community.

  • Environmental: have improved conservation of the 1,300 ha mangrove ecosystem, which hosts a wide array of biodiversity, such as bird and reptile species, and marine species important for fisheries that depend on mangrove health. 

  • Governance: have helped strengthen community capacity to manage a locally managed marine area (LMMA), of which the blue forests are a part. Through this support, local communities themselves are establishing their own regulations and building a strong governance structure for management of the LMMA. 

  • Women’s empowerment: Have supported women’s involvement in governance of natural resources, whose participation was previously limited due to local culture in which women rarely had a voice in local governance and management. Over the last 5 or 6 years, BV actively promoted women’s involvement in both mangrove and fisheries activities. Women are now engaged in carbon stock monitoring every year and are the leaders in mangrove planting. Women also now make up 30% of the executive committee board for the LMMA.


Blue Ventures

The village of Lamboara, has been involved in community-based seaweed farming since 2009 and became part of BV’s Plan Vivo mangrove project in 2013. 

After a series of education and outreach sessions concerning potential impacts of climate change on coastal areas and the importance of mangrove forests in future coastal protection and climate change mitigation, as well as information about the Plan Vivo project, Lamboara chose to opt into the Plan Vivo scheme. Following extensive participatory zoning exercises of their mangroves for future management, Lamboara embarked on its first mangrove planting effort back in 2015.

This mangrove planting effort was held over two days; the first day consisted of training for all those interested, followed by a meeting with the village President, 21 female and 1 male seaweed farmers. Three Blue Forests team members also trekked out to the island’s mangrove forest, located not far from the village, to learn how to select and collect the best mangrove seedlings.

Once everyone was confident and understood the process, we started hiking around the muddy (and sticky) mangrove forest to collect the seedlings. Even though it was swelteringly hot during the day, it was also really fun as the women initiated a competition of who could collect the most seedlings.

On the second day we started by selecting the good seedlings, and once finished started with the actual planting. The women were worried at first that they would not be able to plant all the seedlings because there weren’t enough people (only 22) and that the area they had suggested for planting was too narrow.

Despite the concerns, we began planting in Bezezike, the area proposed during the mangrove zoning. Bezezike is located at around 400m south of the village. 

Despite their anxieties about completing the planting, with much determination, these women finished planting all the seedlings in only 45 minutes and expressed surprise that the area was definitely large enough.

Everyone was very pleased with their efforts and impressed that the process was so easy and could be done independently from Blue Ventures in the future. 

Contributed by

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Zola Tsipy Blue Ventures

Other contributors

Velondriake Association