Mangrove Rehabilitation for Sustainably-Managed Healthy Forests (MARSH) is a 5-year USAID funded project through IUCN (Internation Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources)

The idea behind this project is to rehabilitate and manage mangrove forest areas  in the Pacific Region  to withstand the  negative impacts of Climate Change.  

Apart from the significant fact that mangroves are a source of livelihood for the coastal people & a natural ecosystem service provider ( natural barrier against climatic events), It is the second largest  forest to Indonesia in its high species diversity (43 recorded species). This  makes up 75% of mangrove forest in the entire Pacific region.

Through MARSH, USAID will support the development of a mangrove rehabilitation project in Papua New Guinea.  The envisioned project will support USAID’s strategy for the Pacific by decreasing deforestation and forest degradation and increasing the resilience of communities to the negative effects of climate change.  USAID anticipates that the best practices developed during years one through three will be expanded to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu from year four.

MARSH is intended to support the PNG Government in achieving the goals cited in the PNG Vision 2050. The project will engage a partnership approach with IUCN taking the lead in overall project management and coordination while partners WCS and TNC will implement particular components and activities.  Other local partners that will also be engaged in implementation of project activities include Office of Climate Change and Development (OCCD), University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), PNG Centre for Locally Managed Areas (PNGCLMA), PNG Assembly for Disabled Persons (PNGADP) and Partners with Melanesians Inc. (PWM). 

Key geographic areas include:

  • Manus Province
  • New Britain Province
  • New Ireland Province
  • Central Province and
  • National Capital District


PNG’s mangrove forests are second only to Indonesia in terms of species diversity with 43 recorded species.  It makes up 75% of the total area of mangroves in the Pacific Islands and PNG’s mangroves are critically important for local communities and coastal ecosystems. Extractive industries pose a threat to the health of mangroves in certain provinces due to high sedimentation and release of toxic materials.  The protection and rehabilitation of mangrove ecosystems will safeguard the livelihoods of coastal communities in the country, improve their resilience to the impacts of climate change and act as a mitigation measure in sequestering carbon.

The main objectives of this MARSH Project are:

  1. Build the capacity of PNG Universities, National and sub-national institutions, in mangrove carbon monitoring, reporting and verification.
  2. Strengthen the organizational capacities of civil society to support sustainable development through community-based mangrove forest management.
  3. Strengthen community capacity on sustainable mangrove forest management.
  4. Strengthen the adaptive capacity of coastal communities through community-based mangrove forest management.
  5. Support community rehabilitation and sustainable management of mangrove forests
  6. Explore sustainable finance models and mechanisms that support long-term community based mangrove forest management, including; adaptation funding and REDD+/mangrove carbon finance.


The MARSH Project Briefly

PWM MARSH Project Sites

  • Manus Province – Ndrumunun ward 18 in Kurti area of Pomotu Ndrehet Kurti Andra LLG
  • National Capital District – Pari and Taurama urban villages in the Motu Koitabu Assembly
  • Central Province – Manu manu village in Hiri LLG

PWM MARSH Project Activities

  1. Community Engagement 
    Community mobilization and mangrove awareness.

  2. Mangrove Vulnerability Assessment 
    Engage with stakeholders to do mangrove vulnerability assessments.

  3. Mangrove Rehabilitation and Restoration 
    Training, establish mangrove nursery, plant mangrove seedlings, community monitoring of project sites.

  4. REDD+ and Mangrove Carbon 
    Awareness, workshop on carbon stock

  5. Mangrove Management 
    Workshop, climate change, ecosystem based management.

  6. Sustainable Financing for Site 
    Training, proposal writing, identifying potential donors

Project period
Year Start: 1st October, 2012
Year End: 1st October, 2017.

This project is funded by USAID.

Project Management Unit
The PMU comprises the following personnel:

  • Chief of Party (Dr Eric Verheij)
  • Deputy Chief of Party (Dr Gae Gowae)
  • REDD+ and sustainable forest management specialist (Ms Eunice Dus)
  • Mangrove and coastal zone management specialist (Mr Peter Katapa)
  • Community Engagement and Gender Specialist (Ms Leah Aisi)

More Information
Contact person for the project is the Chief of Party for MARSH, Dr. Eric Verheij.

Replanting and rehabilitating mangroves to protect the future Photo: IUCN
Replanting and rehabilitating mangroves to protect the future Photo: IUCN