Charcoal, aquaculture and mangroves in Indonesia, Lao PDR and Vietnam: Curbing EU-driven forest emissions

Rising charcoal and aquaculture production, in part driven by increasing imports of the European Union (EU) of these products, is likely to lead to significant impacts on mangroves and emission increases in producing countries. Preliminary research shows that including charcoal under the scope of legal timber trade initiatives and adopting measures to encourage ‘mangrove-friendly’ aquaculture production and trade could reduce EU-driven emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Key messages

  • Fuelwood collection and charcoal production are significant drivers of forest degradation and deforestation in Asia, including Indonesia and Vietnam, and have contributed to the loss of mangrove forests.
  • Mangrove forests have high carbon stocks, and their loss through deforestation and degradation has significant impacts on climate change.
  • Charcoal production and trade in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Lao PDR are increasing rapidly, and charcoal exports are often derived from mangrove wood.
  • Aquaculture is the primary driver of mangrove conversion in Asia, and certification schemes for aquaculture often require mangrove cover.
  • Measures should be taken to encourage sustainable charcoal production and trade, including the inclusion of charcoal under the scope of the EU Timber Regulation, and the implementation of measures to encourage “mangrove-friendly” aquaculture production and trade.