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Article

Mangrove reforestation: greening or grabbing coastal zones and deltas? Case studies in Senegal


Abstract

Besides their important contribution to global biodiversity, mangroves provide many services. Nevertheless, due to an increase of human activities and to climate change, in less than 20 years these ecosystems have lost one fifth of their global surface area. In response to this decrease, mangrove reforestation incentives have spread throughout the world. The scientific and societal legitimacy of reforestation actions still remain in question. Focusing on two case studies, the Saloum Delta and Lower Casamance, Senegal, our methodology was mainly based on the analysis of environmental narratives and discourses between 2009 and 2013, and on reforestation campaigns conducted by NGOs. We highlight the complexity of the system of values associated with the mangroves, as well as the positive and negative interactions between the services. Even although the reforestation campaigns were generally successful in terms of reforested surfaces and international visibility, they were poor in terms of biological and cultural diversities and led to spatial injustice. Moreover, the extensive reforestation with a unique mangrove species, Rhizophora mangle, was perceived as means of ‘green grabbing’, and the simultaneous buying of carbon tax by industrial conglomerates induced disempowerment of the local communities. More integrated research programmes must be developed towards the extensive knowledge of the mangroves.

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