The world’s largest blue carbon project, Delta Blue Carbon, is protecting and restoring 350,000 hectares of tidal river channels and creeks, low-lying sandy islands, mangrove forests and inter-tidal areas on the south-east coast of Sindh in Pakistan. This incredibly rich and diverse landscape provides a critical ecosystem service. It sustains productive fisheries, serves as an important feeding ground for migratory shorebirds and supports the socioeconomic livelihoods of coastal villagers who collect shellfish and crabs.

The delta area also provides fertile ground for sequestering and storing vast amounts of atmospheric carbon. The delta’s mangrove forests are the largest area of arid climate mangroves in the world but have experienced massive-scale deforestation and degradation. This is a pioneering public private partnership between the government of Sindh and a private project developer, Indus Delta Capital.

Climate change mitigation

Mangrove forests sequester 3-5 times more CO2 per hectare than upland tropical forests. The project is engaging in large scale mangrove planting across the delta. In total 220,000 hectares will be planted, the largest restoration programme in the world. To date, over 70,000 hectares have been planted. The project will operate over a 60-year lifespan and will generate over 128.5 million high-quality credits, and sequester 142 million tonnes CO2.

Theory of change

Before the project activities started, the region was in a vicious cycle of poverty and lack of access to education, clean energy and clean water. This resulted in large scale mangrove deforestation and degradation caused by an over exploitation of the mangroves for fuelwood and clearance for grazing.

The income from the sale of carbon credits from the mangrove restoration will be spent on addressing these underlying drivers of degradation by providing jobs, education, clean water and clean energy facilities to the local communities. Hence the communities will see direct benefits from restoring the landscape and creating a virtuous cycle of natural, social and economic regeneration.

Project impact areas

More than 42,000 live within the project zone and 60 coastal villages depend on the forests. The project will create 21,000 full-time jobs, as well as safe and affordable drinking water supply, community health, and gender equality initiatives. Training and capacity building for project staff, communities and local NGOs and government is improving the financial security and wellbeing of local people. Non-carbon benefits to local communities have been valued at $134 per tonne.

The improved provision of mangrove ecosystem goods and services will also improve the climate change resilience of local communities. By revitalising the degraded coastal habitat and ensuring its long-term sustainability, the project will generate substantial climate change adaptation benefits for the biodiversity in the region, such as improved protection from storm surges and other coastal hazards.

The project is in the Indus Ecoregion, identified by the WWF as a biodiversity hotpot and one of the 40 most biologically rich ecoregions in the world. The project area is home to several globally threatened species, including as a wintering ground for many species of water birds, and contains or provides habitat for 11 vulnerable or threatened species on the IUCN Red List. The project positively impacts these species of special concern by revegetating the degraded coastal ecosystem. All species used in the restoration work under the project are native to the coastal areas of Sindh.

The magic of mangroves

Mangroves are amongst the most productive marine ecosystems on Earth. They provide a safe refuge for a host of aquatic organisms, protect the coastline from erosion and secure the economic livelihood of coastal communities. Mangrove forests are also incredibly effective carbon sinks. These ecosystems sequester and store large quantities of carbon in both the plants and the soil below, so are an essential piece of the solution to global climate change.

The wood and soil of mangrove forests along the world’s coastlines hold three billion tonnes of carbon.

They help moderate the disturbances caused by tsunamis, floods and provide a natural barrier against coastal erosion. The complex network of mangrove roots can help reduce wave energy, shielding coastal communities from the destructive forces of storms.

They are essential to maintaining water quality as they filter and trap sediments, heavy metals and other pollutants in their roots.

The ecosystem also assists in pollination of crops as well as aids biological control of insects, other pests and diseases.

Healthy mangrove ecosystems also mean healthy fisheries. They provide nesting and breeding habitat for fish and shellfish and migratory birds.


Durability term:

200 years

Durability guarantee:

30 years


All partners have committed to ongoing audits and reviews to ensure the project continues to meet the highest contemporary standards available, with ongoing data gathering, monitoring and analysis across the project to meet both Verra standards and maintaining a triple gold CCBA standard for community, climate and biodiversity conservation.


Without this project, restoration and conservation work would not be implemented due to lack of government funds and no environmental and community livelihood benefits would be realised. Requisite reforms in policy, legal and institutional structures and processes that are conducive to and supportive of sustainable community development would also not materialise.


Delta Blue Carbon is one of the first projects to factor in the long-term effects of sea level rise. Using a digital elevation model, the project accounts for land lost to sea level rise and coastal erosion over a period of 100 years. Mangrove trees are extremely resistant to pests and natural fires in mangroves are uncommon. Strong co-benefits and livelihood improvements are being delivered through the project to local people ensuring community buyin and engagement to avoid any future mangrove degradation or deforestation.

350,000 ha

Protect and restores 350,000 ha in the Sindth Indus Delta Region

128 million

Expected to produce 128 million carbon credits over the project’s 60-year lifetime, and sequester a total of 142 million tonnes of CO2

43,000 people

43,000 people in 4,911 households and 60 villages will benefit from this project

75,000 ha

75,000 hectares has been restored with mangrove plantations out of a total area of >224,000 ha to be planted during the project lifetime

11 IUCN Red Lis species

Provides habitat for 11 IUCN Red Lis species including 4 endangered: the Indian Pangolin, the Indian humpback dolphin, the Indus River dolphin, and the Egyptian vulture

500 people daily

500 people daily are provided with clean drinking water through the rehabilitation and management of reverse osmosis plants

1,000 jobs

1,000 jobs of which 40% are for women

84% of households rely on fishing

84% of households rely on fishing and 25% are completely dependent on mangrove wood for cooking and heating – the project will introduce and promote sustainable fishing and sustainable and renewable energy sources