Mexico boasts the world's fourth-largest mangrove area, spanning more than 900,000 hectares. Mangrove ecosystems sustain healthy habitats for wildlife and serve as barriers against climate disasters for local communities. They are additionally carbon capture powerhouses, a vital nature-based solution. Mexico's mangroves contribute significantly to the economy, providing an annual environmental services benefit estimated between $1.44 trillion and $24.3 trillion. However, the unchecked expansion of tourism, urbanization and land use changes, particularly for agriculture and cattle grazing, have led to the decimation of extensive areas of Mexico's mangroves.

Through the RE3CO initiative, WRI is carrying out community-driven restoration, conservation and management of mangrove forests in Mexico. Local organizations are leading efforts on the ground in multiple regions – securing economic independence and numerous social benefits from their participation by increasing and diversifying job opportunities and reducing the gender wage gap.

Our five-part video series features community leaders spearheading mangrove restoration and conservation efforts in Mexico.

RE3CO, a collaborative initiative led by WRI Mexico in partnership with the Small Grants Program (UNDP-SGP) and funded within HSBC’s NbS Accelerator, is dedicated to the restoration of vital mangrove ecosystems in the Yucatan Peninsula, Tabasco and Oaxaca. These efforts are designed to foster sustainable community development, bolster ecosystem health and enhance carbon storage and coastal resilience. The project supports the restoration, adaptation and climate change mitigation goals of Mexico, enriching the lives of local communities and securing the future of these invaluable coastal ecosystems.

The project aims to achieve several specific objectives:

  • Restore and conserve over 4,000 hectares of mangroves across 10 sites (1,400 restored, 4800 conserved).
  • Foster economic initiatives tied to sustainable mangrove management, such as beekeeping, ecotourism, and fishing.
  • Pilot mangrove management and restoration as a bankable Nature-based Solution.
  • Reduce GHG emissions from deforestation and enhance carbon capture.
  • Enhance resilience to climate change for coastal communities and ecosystems.
  • Generate measurable benefits for residents through job creation and income generation.


Mangrove Guardians: Securing Economic Stability

Protecting mangroves can mean providing for your family. Verónica Cab Huchim leveraged her role with Cooperativa Carey —  and their mission to restore and reforest more than 200 hectares of mangroves —  to create two income streams.  

Cab Huchim has found a way to provide her family with stability while benefiting the planet. See how she and other women enhanced their economic position as Mangrove Guardians. 

  • Project: Cooperativa Carey (Servicios Ecoturísticos Carey S.C.)
  • Quantity of Protected Land: hydrological restoration of 200 hectares and the reforestation of 30 hectares of mangroves
  • Location: Isla Arena, Campeche
  • Featured Guardian: Verónica Cab Huchim


Mexico’s Mangrove Guardians: Fish Refuge Rescue

The La Fragata fishing refuge in Isla Aguada — the first-ever in the state of Campeche, Mexico — relies on the health of its mangroves. And those mangroves rely on guardians like Santiago Felipe Puch Salazar for protection.

Santiago and his fellow Mangrove Guardians ensure a haven for fish and wildlife, which in turn provides economic opportunity for the whole community.

Just like his father's generation did for him, Santiago’s cohort looking out for the future of their community’s well-being.

  • Project: La Fragata de Isla Aguada 
  • Quantity of Protected Land: 1,0131 hectares of ocean; creating Campeche’s first-ever fishing refuge. 
  • Location: Isla Aguada, Campeche 
  • Featured Speaker: Santiago Felipe Puch Salazar 


Mexico’s Mangrove Guardians: Thriving Ecotourism 

Sharing is caring for Israel Moras Narváez and his colleagues at Cooperativa Carey. And by guarding the mangroves in Isla Arena and Tankuché, Mexico, life springs anew as people and animals alike reap the benefits...allowing for a thriving ecotourism operation to flourish.   

Watch as Narváez taps into the power of community to breathe life back into the region.  

  • Project: Cooperativa Carey (Servicios Ecoturisticos Carey S.C.) 
  • Quantity of Protected Land: Hydrological restoration of 200 hectares and the reforestation of 30 hectares of mangroves 
  • Location: Isla Arena, Campeche 
  • Featured Speaker: Israel Moras Narváez 


Mangrove Guardians: Pollinating Conservation for Future Generations

While most people probably associate bees with flowers, they’re also an integral part of an effort to conserve 300 hectares of mangroves in the Celestun Biosphere Reserve in Isla Arena, Mexico.   

Margely Mascool and the Honey Kaab instituted sustainable agroecological beekeeping and meliponiculture in Calkiní, Campeche after they identified these incredible insects as the key to mangrove restoration.  

  • Project: Honey Kaab (Agroindustria Honey Kaab S.P.R. de R.L.)
  • Quantity of Protected Land: 300 hecatres of mangroves in the Celestun Biosphere Reserve
  • Location: Calkiní, Campeche Featured
  • Speaker: Margely Mascool


Mangrove Guardians: Empowering Women, Protecting the Future

Mangrove restoration consists of difficult manual labor, historically the terrain of men. But Oriana Montes de Oca and the Cooperativa Carey have flipped the script on that narrative, turning the page for a previously degraded mangrove.   

Mangrove guardians come in many forms, but one thing remains the same for all of them: a steadfast commitment to combatting climate change.  

  • Project: Cooperativa Carey (Servicios Ecoturísticos Carey S.C.) 
  • Quantity of Protected Land: Hydrological restoration of 200 hectares and the reforestation of 30 hectares of mangroves 
  • Location: Isla Arena, Campeche 
  • Featured Speaker: Oriana Montes de Oca 


Cover image by WRI | Sisal, Yucatán