SWAMP Toolbox

The Sustainable Wetlands for Mitigation and Adaptation Program (SWAMP) Toolbox has been developed to guide users in understanding the importance of wetlands ecosystems as carbon reservoirs for climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. The scope of the toolbox ranges from global to national and local perspectives.


This presentation is an overview of the Sustainable Wetlands for Adaptation and Mitigation Program (SWAMP), the SWAMP Toolbox and the importance of wetlands.

SWAMP is a collaborative effort between the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), USDA Forest Service and Oregon State University; it is supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Wetlands, particularly mangroves and peatlands have high, quality stocks of carbon, important for climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. They also provide numerous ecosystem services. However, most countries do not have sufficient information about the significance of wetlands.

To better understand the carbon dynamics in this ecosystem, the toolbox aimed to provide basic training materials for academia, policy makers and practitioners on the wetlands issues related to climate change and mitigation strategies.

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Theme A

Wetlands and climate change

This section describes the process of including wetlands (as a particular ecosystem) in UNFCCC processes and REDD programs. It took a very long time to include a single item, such as wetlands, in international arrangements, particularly in UNFCCC and REDD programs. The presentation describes UNFCCC bodies and the development of RED and REDD.

This section describes the IPCC, how it was established and the scope of its works. The IPCC conducts an assessment of published literature; it does not conduct research or monitoring; it aims to present balanced scientific information and reports of relevant policy. It produces guidelines for conducting inventory of greenhouse gas emissions by sectors. Over a 20-year period, IPCC guidelines have evolved considerably. In the 2013 Supplement to 2006 Guidelines, the methodologies are more specific, encompassing various land-use activities on wetlands.

This module outlines the roles tropical wetlands play in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Wetlands are important in a carbon global balance since they store a very high level and quality of carbon, are a source of methane (CH4), and wetlands cover in the tropic is high. However, peatlands are also facing huge pressure from land-use change. Mitigation could be more strategic if synergized with adaptation strategies. South and Southeast Asia offer a significant opportunity for adaptation and mitigation through wetland ecosystems.

Theme B

Wetlands for climate change adaptation

The important element in ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) is the use of ecosystem services for people’s adaptation, to increase their resilience to climate change. This module provides the scientific evidence for EBA – six major stories linked to forests and trees ecosystem services – and the opportunities and challenges of EBA.

This module describes climate change impacts in mangrove socio-ecological systems, the means to discuss both ecological component of the ecosystem and human component, as well as to explore their interaction. The vulnerability of both ecosystems and societies is interlinked, thus the pressures needs to be decreased through restoration, sustainable management and adaptation measures.

Peatlands distributed throughout the tropical region will be affected by climate change. The data shows that 56% of the world’s tropical peatlands are in Southeast Asia. This module describes peat swamp forests, as highly productive, tropical rain forests, which provide numerous ecosystem services to human societies. The conversion of tropical peat swamp forests to other land uses releases very large amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

This presentation focus on the benefits that wetlands and mangroves provided to human populations (ecosystem services). There are five categories of services specified, including: supporting, biological, provisioning, regulating and cultural services. The current extent of wetlands and mangroves around the world are also presented here.

Theme C

Wetlands for climate change mitigation

The module will describe the value of reducing emissions and enhancing removals of greenhouse gases related to land-use and land-cover change in tropical wetland forests.
The IPCC lists two general approaches to determine emissions from land-use and cover change, the “gain loss” method and the “stock-difference” method. In reality, a combination of both is needed to truly understand carbon dynamics, emissions, and sequestration associated with land-use and land-cover change in tropical wetlands.

This module describes monitoring, measuring and the quantification of carbon stocks in tropical peat swamp forest. It will extensively discuss the measurement of the biomass, structure and carbon pools in trees of tropical peat swamp forest. For long-term monitoring, we describe the technical details of measurement.

The module focuses on carbon stocks assessment for mangroves. We will discuss methodologies to efficiently determine carbon emissions in both tall and low mangroves; we will learn a data collection strategy to calculate the carbon stocks, composition and structure of mangroves; and the information of carbon dynamics to provide to policy makers with respect to climate change mitigation and adaptation activities.

This module introduces some of the methods available for assessing whether a wetland ecosystem is a net sink or a net source of greenhouse gases.
Methane can be an important contributor to net greenhouse gas budgets in wetlands. The capacity in heating the atmosphere is different for each greenhouse gas. This capacity is called global warming potential. The net exchange of carbon between a terrestrial ecosystem and the atmosphere can be evaluated by looking at the change over time in either the carbon stocks or the carbon fluxes.
In this module, we explain how the monitoring of environmental factors, such as weather and soil temperature, affect greenhouse gas emissions and carbon fluxes.

This module introduce the approaches for using remote sensing to map wetland extent and dynamics. Quantifying wetland type, extent, distribution and condition is vital for mitigation efforts, MRV, IPCC and related efforts. Remote sensing is a key tool in wetland mapping. It provides human activity data, which is a critical component of estimating human impacts on wetlands. However, to estimate the changes in wetland carbon content, there should be activity data and emissions factors. The module also acknowledges some possible data sources, such as Landsat and Lidar, as well as describing the overall scheme on map development. The future of change detection using remote sensing will be transformed by a number of key developments.

Theme D

Carbon project development in wetlands ecosystems

Forest reference emissions level/forest reference level (FREL/FRL) is not only an important topic but also an important step in developing a project. FREL is generally used in the context of REDD+ to estimate the amount of emission reduction from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the amount of removals from sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in a geographical area. FRL is often used to refer to the amount of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation from a geographical area (REDD).
FREL/FRL may be developed through a step-wise approach and the improvement should be promoted to encourage broad participation. Emissions estimation for financial incentives and benefit-sharing may be linked.

In this module, we will learn about monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV), the scope of each element, how it is framed in national and subnational contexts, and its direction in wetlands. MRV is an important procedure, by which one can be more transparent, trustable and decide what to expect from a particular action. MRV in REDD+ is still at the capacity development stage, but the subnational and local MRV has also been promoted.
The module suggests that continuous MRV improvements are important to encourage broad participation and step-wise progress (i.e. along REDD+ phases). With sustained support on the national and subnational processes from the international level, developing countries, especially those with extensive wetlands, have opportunities to develop their MRV systems.

This module explains how IPCC’s emission factors and activity data are developed and how countries use emission factors and activity data to estimate emissions. The IPCC has developed guidance on emission factors and activity data to help countries account for greenhouse gas inventories. Guidance is restricted to managed wetlands where the water table is artificially changed or wetlands are created through human activity (e.g. damming a river or reservoirs). Emissions from unmanaged ecosystems such as those associated with natural wetlands, rivers and lakes are not reported.

Theme E

Beyond carbon

The module focuses on the impacts of sea level rise on mangroves and tropical wetlands. The current and forecast rates of sea level rise (SLR) and variation of rates across the globe will be discussed. Sea levels are expected to rise because of the impact of climate change ; this is predicted to have negative impact on mangrove forests. The module continues to outline the global threats to mangrove forests, the mechanisms that allow mangroves to keep up with SLR and monitoring of wetlands for resilience to SLR. The methods of mangrove accretion measurement are also described. Mangroves provide many valuable ecosystem services, but are threatened by climate change. Therefore, monitoring should take place that can identify which mangrove can keep up with SLR and should be protected.

The majority of mangrove restoration projects fail worldwide. This is because humans tend to plant the wrong species of mangrove in an inappropriate location. A six-step process known as ecological mangrove rehabilitation (EMR) has been developed to overcome both social and ecological hurdles facing mangrove rehabilitation practitioners. The module presents EMR projects in several areas which involving community in all phases of the project. The application of EMR is a scientific assessment-based, socially appropriate and cost-effective process that addresses some of the degraded mangroves worldwide.

  • Bourgeau-Chavez, Laura
  • Brown, Ben
  • Chazarin, Florie
  • Friess, Daniel
  • Hergoualc’h, Kristell
  • Herold, Martin
  • Kauffman, Boone
  • Kolka, Randy
  • Lilleskov, Erik
  • Locatelli, Bruno
  • MacKenzie, Richard
  • Margono, Belinda
  • Murdiyarso, Daniel
  • Pramova, Emilia
  • Warren, Matthew
  • Verchot, Lou