The MOMENTS project is a Newton fund project administered in the UK by NERC and is focused on understanding changes in mangrove forests. The project is working in Sumatra, Indonesia and the Red River Delta, Vietnam.
Within the tropics, mangrove forests are seen as one of the most sustainable solutions to coastal climate adaptation and mitigation as a coastal wave buffer and carbon storage yet they are also threatened by accelerated sea level rise, sediment starvation and increased storm frequency and intensity. Particularly in vulnerable regions of Southeast-Asia changes in mangrove extent have implications with societal and economic relevance. There is an incomplete understanding of the factors causing tipping points resulting in mangroves switching to a fast rate of retreat or outgrowth at the border between mangroves and tidal flats. While quantification of the true economic value of the ecosystem system services (e.g., coastal protection, fisheries, carbon storage, biodiversity and wood products) provided by mangroves and their link to mangrove extent is also limited and is important for understanding the full business case for mangroves in the wider system. This project aims to understand the factors controlling such non-linear mangrove dynamics and to quantify the rate of lateral mangrove dynamics and associated change in ecosystem services in Vietnam and Indonesia. This project will further develop a satellite based remote sensing monitoring system in combination with field and mesocosm experiments, modelling to elucidate tipping points in lateral mangrove dynamics and quantifying the economic value of mangroves restoration and loss. These will provide national monitoring allowing changes to be understood and anticipated, key areas for restoration identified and the economic value and its temporal dynamics to be assessed. Furthermore, national and local governments, NGOs and coastal communities will benefit through the provision of evidence and methods for quantifying the value of mangroves and mangrove restoration.