The Caterpillar Foundation believes that protecting natural infrastructure is a key way to restore local ecosystems and help our communities grow stronger and more resilient.
One example of the power of natural infrastructure is mangrove forests. Mangroves are not only critically important to biodiversity but act as a first-line of defense against the impacts of climate change, allowing for coastal resiliency and providing important protection from flooding and storms.
However, ongoing agricultural and aquacultural mismanagement continue to threaten mangroves.
Asia, where 90 percent of the world’s aquaculture industry is located, has seen substantial degradation of mangrove ecosystems – for example, 70 percent of Indonesia’s 3.7 million hectares of mangrove forests have been deforested. While local laws prohibit further deforestation from agricultural practices, shrimp farms struggling to keep up with heightened demand continue to use unsustainable practices, leading to ecosystem degradation.
To reverse this trend, Conservation International has developed Climate Smart Shrimp, an innovative approach to working with shrimp farmers and protecting local ecosystems.
The Climate Smart Shrimp project aims to increase shrimp production sustainably while improving water quality by constructing treatment wetlands and restoring blue carbon ecosystems to promote climate resiliency.
To achieve this, the project works with local shrimp farmers, supply chain companies, governments, investors and communities to innovate a new generation of climate resilient food production.
The Caterpillar Foundation’s investment will help implement a new Climate Smart Shrimp pilot project in West Java, a major shrimp-producing region in Indonesia.
The project will allow Conservation International to measure the environmental, social, and economic benefits of the Climate Smart Shrimp approach while improving shrimp aquaculture practices. This program will not only restore 20 hectares of mangroves, but it will also increase the production and profitability of local shrimp farmers, ultimately increasing their income.
The Caterpillar Foundation believes that by protecting ecosystems and investing in innovative solutions, we can protect the communities that rely on them.
By partnering with Conservation International, the Foundation is supporting a scalable model that can help countries meet their SDGs and climate targets. It can translate to many thousands of hectares restored, higher income for more than 30,000 shrimp farmers, and advance livelihoods for many more.