This project helps farming communities in Zambia to improve their livelihoods, protect disappearing forests and create a sanctuary for globally-important, threatened wildlife. Located approximately 120 km southeast of Zambia’s capital city Lusaka, the Lower Zambezi Community Forestry Project, protects 39,000 hectares (100,000 acres) of threatened valuable Miombo forest from deforestation. This is one of the last intact areas of forest land within Lusaka Province where deforestation rates are 11 times higher than the national average. It provides a vital buffer to the adjacent Lower Zambezi National Park. The project area is part of a globally significant trans-frontier conservation area which also includes the Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. The area is habitat for some of Africa’s most charismatic wildlife, including elephants, lions, antelopes, jaguars, wild dogs, and other threatened species.
Zambia’s forests are rapidly vanishing. The country’s deforestation rate is the highest in Africa. This is partly due to exceptionally high poverty rate in Zambia: 85% of the population live on less than US$ 2 per day. This means expansion of inefficient subsistence agriculture into forestland to feed a rapidly growing population. A second main driver of deforestation is the high demand for charcoal as cheap source of energy for household cooking needs in nearby cities, leading to steep rates of illegal and destructive tree cutting.
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The project helps local farmers increase agricultural productivity on their land, diversify their income base, improve family nutrition, and create new jobs in the community. Farming pilots set up by the project are providing 200 families with training and market linkages that target a doubling of food production from the land. The project has started setting up village businesses, such as poultry and honey production. Evidencing its exceptional local benefits, the project has been validated to the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards Second Edition, and has earned CCB been awarded Gold Level status for its project design in Climate Change Adaptation, Community Benefits, and Biodiversity.
The project provides a vital buffer to the Lower Zambezi National Park and forms part of a globally significant trans-frontier conservation area that is home to 23,000 elephants - one of Africa’s largest populations - and includes Mana Pools National Park in neighbouring Zimbabwe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The project area provides valuable habitat for lion, wild dog, and locally threatened species such as sable, eland, and roan antelope.
The project improves local schooling infrastructure, support teachers’ salaries, and provides environmental education to villagers. It also supports local healthcare facilities and improve access to drinking water. This gives the community’s children a fairer chance for a bright future.
About the Project Developer
Working alongside Code REDD member BioCarbon Group, local partner BioCarbon Partners (BCP) is the implementing organization for this project. BCP is a social enterprise that develops and manages community-based forest carbon projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. BCP’s aim is to provide an African-based approach to tackling deforestation, and to channel the benefits of such projects back into local communities. It invests in land management, community development, and accredited carbon verification to offer tangible poverty alleviation and biodiversity benefits stakeholders in areas of high wildlife conservation significance.